MASERU (TMGLIVE) – Pablo Picasso once said that, “Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up”. And for some reason, what Picasso said back then, resonates and reverberates in the artistic approach and professional journey of Motloheloa Nthaisane aka Justice the Artist.
Motloheloa’s passion for art grew out of a setback he encountered when, “I failed Standard 2 in my Primary level. In 1993 when I repeated Standard 2, all my friends were in Standard 3 and I kept to myself most of the time at school and my drawings became my only companions as I would be drawing sketches all the time when others mingled and played with their friends,” says Justice.
He continues that from that very year, when he repeated, he coincidentally began selling art works. He explains that: “As I continued drawing my sketches, one female classmate gave me an idea of selling my paintings and drawings and she actually became my first ever customer as she bought a piece herself, and as they say, the rest from that day till now, is history”.
When he continued selling his artistic drawings, most of which were Ninja Turtles, Justice also began to add new ideas that diversified his work so much that by 1995 he began entering his works for school competitions and by 1997 he had his own well established art business, as people could then approach him to draw various graphics as per what they needed.
Most of the time Justice explains that the tools for his trade, pens and other materials would be supplied by his friends so that he can draw and sell to them. “By the time I got to high school, I was in big printing business with huge T-Shirts and Sweaters orders. My parents would reprimand me a lot about balancing my studies and my art passion. I would be reading at home while my parents are awake and the minute they fall asleep I would drift back to my art. Anyway I still managed to pass till I got to tertiary,” Justice said.
By far and in light of Lesotho’s massive unemployment visited upon by abject poverty, Justice explained that he has managed to sell 300 t0 400 of his art pieces in Lesotho, and in comparison, he belives there is a lucrative market for art here in Lesotho once an artist can appeal to the Lesotho market and clients.
Most Basotho according to Justice, “are people who relate more to illustrative paintings as opposed to abstract paintings that fetch fortune in European markets. In Lesotho, most people have a lot of sentiment with what they can relate to, just like a picture of a mountain that connects a person to his or her roots”.
In conclusion, Justice explains that his artistic prowess is anchored on his undying love for self, the love for Lesotho, Basotho and Bosotho. He believes that patriotism is a sacrosanct element of life that drives passion for everything good about people as a nation. Most of his drawings he says, “are about Lesotho and Basotho even though I still do other drawings about places out of Lesotho”.