Banele Khoza on Modern Love

In his latest body of work, LOVE?, artist Banele Khoza interrogates modern love in a hyper-connected world. He’s interested in how our phones play a role in hooking up, breaking up and making up and finds himself critical of how social media affects our psychology, relationships and dating culture.

Banele is a fanatical note taker and his collected insights and exchanges make their way into his paintings through text interventions while imagined characters play out love (or loveless) scenes based on his own experiences. In abstract colours and neo-expressive brush strokes, his paintings offer sharp observations paired with a generous sense of humour.


In his artist statement for his recent solo show at SMITH, Banele says:

We are immersed in a curated reality and only exposed to the best part of people’s lives, yet we haven’t learnt to objectively consume images. So, we create a reality of their lives in our minds based on what has been shared. When we are confronted with these images, they prey on what is lacking in our own lives. If our careers are stagnant we are likely to notice someone who is traveling the world with their business or job. If you have a non-existent love life, you will not miss all the “baecations” or engagements and weddings from your following. It is worse for someone who is in a functioning relationship and starts to compare notes based on this “reality”. People are expecting the world from others and actually we are responsible for our own happiness.


We slid into his DMs, so to speak, to question him about his online behaviour and ask him about his thoughts on love:


Banele Khoza


More about Banele: @bkhz / smithstudio.co.za.

Interview by Alix-Rose Cowie

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