Neo Image Matloga

Charcoal and collage choreograph nostalgic portraits of the everyday.

artist wears dark blue overalls and stands with hands behind his back in his studio, with empty canvases to his left and a selection of his artwork on the wall to his right
close-up of the artists hand as he reaches towards his art, adjusting an eye on part of a portrait
view of a wall in the artist's studio which is covered in a large mixed media painting, which the artist stands in front of and stretches an arm upwards towards
6 images

Neo Image Matloga was born in 1993 in Mamaila, South Africa, and now lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


In 2021, he was awarded the ABN AMRO Art Prize, having also received the Netherlands Royal Award for Modern Painting in 2018. The jury of the latter described him as "a storyteller with guts".


His work is featured in collections around the world including the South African Embassy, Washington DC; the KRC Collection and Fries Museum, both in the Netherlands and the Dean Collection, New York.

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Practice overview

Neo Image Matloga paints intimate domestic scenes that dramatise the minutiae of life in South Africa. His ‘collage paintings’ use ink, charcoal and found photographs of friends, family and prolific South African figures to reflect on social and political topics of past and present. An atmospheric greyscale palette is punctuated by the artist’s high contrast treatment of light and shadow, drawing on chiaroscuro painterly traditions dating back to the Renaissance. Matloga sees his canvases as “alive” - the residue of his materials functioning as symbolic traces of memory and history. Black resilience is enshrined throughout the joyful scenes he choreographs on canvas. In his own words - “what you see is life.”

The works are intentionally coded with numerous aesthetic registers - from the obscure hyperrealism of his photomontage to the titling of his works using Sepedi or Selobedu poetry. He does this intentionally to reject the notion of absolute coherence or singular truth, and instead portrays the infinite nuances and contradictions of everyday Black life. Deftly layering mediums and narratives, Matloga celebrates nostalgic, personal moments and the human tenacity that underpins them.

"I am hoping the audience will see their emotions, their experiences, their spirits living on my canvases."Neo Image Matloga