When I came across Lebohang’s art on my timeline, I went crazy! I had to re-post the picture to share the talent with everyone and the picture went viral on ownurcrown’s instagram page and on my personal page, people were liking and commenting, most of all they were interested in buying the art, which was amazing! I had to find out more about her and she agreed to do the interview without a doubt.

Lebohang is a 25 year old hairstylist and fine artist who was born at Evaton, Gauteng. She grew up drawing and experimenting with her grandmother’s hair. When she was ten years old her interest of braiding grew stronger and she used her skill to support her financial needs. Over the years it went from just being a tool of making money to an area of research in the art practice,as she became more fascinated with arrangements of patterns, colour and different textures.

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How would you describe your Art?

In my work, I focus on the activity and process of doing hair, and the significance of hairstyles in women. I am mostly influenced by the conversations I have with some of the people I plait.

HAIR: Medium for self expression, Linocut 2013

Hairstyling or hair braiding is an art form of its own. As hairstylists we use different techniques and different materials to make our art. We always come up with new and unique hairstyles.

Did you study Art?

After matriculating, I went to study Fine Arts at Vaal University of Technology and completed a B Tech degree in 2013. I then studied at Artist Proof Studio where I received a certificate of excellence in printmaking in 2015. I work mostly in printmaking and drawing where I focus on the theme of Hairstyling.

E Kojwa esale metsi, Etching 2017

I use a wide range of mediums,from linocut, etching, paper making and drawings with hair on paper. In my recent work, I make portraits using hair, where I talk about how a person’s hair can be a symbol of one’s identity, and how it has the power to dictate how a person is seen. I use human hair and synthetic hair to portray my subject matter. I believe that the material that you use has to relate with what you are trying to speak about. With my etching works, I represent the pain and the timeous laborious process that comes with plaiting hair. With linocut, I focus on the patterns and the texture of hair, because of the different mark makings that comes with carving a lino.

In my recent work, I make portraits using hair, where I talk about how a person’s hair can be a symbol of one’s identity, and how it has the power to dictate how a person is seen

Plaited Identity III synthetic hair on paper 2016

What is your creative process?

When I’m creating an artwork as well as plaiting a person, I always like to have music in the background, I get to concentrate and I work faster. Whenever I do a drawing where I’m plaiting into the canvas or paper, I always imagine plaiting a real person, this helps me to get the results I’m looking for.

How do you stay consistent?

Consistency is absolutely essential for any artist to be successful. As an emerging artist, I have to stay focused and not confuse myself and the viewers. I want to make it easier for the viewers to identify the work. I want to send a coherent message to my viewers and not send mixed messages,this way people will understand my work and hopefully be inspired.

What are the challenges in your art?

It’s always hard when you doing something that your family or friends don’t understand. I am from an environment where people don’t understand art. At the beginning of my career I didn’t have much support from my family and friends who used to discourage me, and questioned my career decision, but I always had the courage to pursue my dream of becoming an artist.

What would you change in the hair/art industry?

The visual art industry is mostly male dominated and would like to see more women getting involved. We really need to support each other in this industry as woman. And would like to see more opportunities created for female artists.

With the hair industry, I would like to see hairstylists and women become more creative. I have realized that celebrities play a huge role in influencing the choices of hairstyles that women wear. We need to be authentic and to start owning our styles.

Expressive roots synthetic hair on canvas 2017

What does owning your crown mean to you?

Even after I had so many difficult challenges in my career, which could have led me to quit, I held my head up. I did not let negativity put me down. I had the courage to pursue my dream and I am proud of what I’ve achieved. I am able to use my talent to inspire other women while I’m also being inspired. I can just keep smiling and let my work speak for itself. I work hard and I refuse to give up.

Name the people that are owning their crown unapologetically.

Kim Berman

Fine art lecturer at university of Johannesburg, the director of artist proof studio. An energetic person who has helped so many great artists of today.

Zanele Muholi

A visual activist dedicated to increasing the visibility of black lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people. She hopes to document the journey of the African queer community as a record for future generations.

Are you showcasing anywhere?

My work will be showcased at Art@first gallery space at FirstRand on the 2nd August 2017 at 18:00. I will also be part of an exhibition which will be showcasing and celebrating female artists at Artist Proof Studio on 26 August 2017. People can always buy my art at Artist Proof Studio 3 Hellen Joseph Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. They can also buy it from me, my email address is lebohangmot@gmail.com.