Tony Nkotsi was born in 1955 in the Western Township of Johannesburg. As a child he spent his Saturdays at informal art classes in Orlando, Soweto where he was exposed to contemporary South African art. He was particularly impressed by a large drawing by Dumile Feni. His involvement in the student uprisings of 1976 saw him being detained. On his release he attended art classes at the Mofolo Art Centre where he met Dumisani Mabaso , Pat Moutloua and Gordon Gabashane who had recently graduated from Rorkes Drift. Inspired by these men, Nkotsi studied at the Rorkes Drift Art Centre for three years from 1980 to 1982, the year that the Art Centre closed down.
At Rorkes Drift, Tony Nkotsi was exposed to the world of "democratic multiples"; a way of making art that linked to his political sentiments. The centre offered a wide range of print media including; intaglio processes such as etching, aquatint, drypoint and mezzotint, lonocut and woodcut, screenprints and other forms of colour printing. This curriculum was arguably more extensive than the printmaking training available at most recognised tertiary institutions of that time in South Africa. What he learned at Rorkes Drift remains today in Nkotsi's commitment and mastery of print processes. Much of the work underscores the political dimension that was encouraged at Rorke's Drift by the debate around social issues. This can be seen in work that is overtly political such as his Portrait of a Man (Biko) 1982.
His friendship with Dumisani Mabaso remained strong over the years. In 1984 Nkotsi and Dumisani founded the SGUZU PRINT WORKSHOP in Market street Johannesburg. He also assisted with establishing the Hammanskraal Art Project and taught printmaking at the Open School (JHB) from 1984 and at The Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA). From 1986 he taught at the Johannesburg Art Foundation holding the position of the head of the printmaking department, and also serving in its management committee. In 1988 he joined the THUPELO ARTS WORKSHOP and also served as a member of the management committee of the organization a position he held up to the mid-nineties, a position that saw him traveling to various countries advicing artists who were setting up arts workshops in those countries, including BOTSWANA, MOZAMBIQUE, ZAMBIA.
© 2018 LL Editions