World Art     

Thembinkosi Kohli

Thembinkosi Kohli was born in 1978 and lives in Mbekweni, a township near Paarl in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Upon completing high school, he enrolled for a three year course in painting, drawing and ceramics at the Community Arts Project. Here he started experimenting with caricature and comics. Soon after his art facilitator arranged for him to attend an illustration and writing workshop at the University of Cape Town. It is here that his idea of a character called Q-Phy was born.

“Q-Phy is a boy who tries to run and hide from his shadow. Our shadows are a reflection of who we are, and to run away will not solve our problems,” he says. The invention of Q-phy led to the publishing of a book titled The Shadow with Q-phy as its central figure. The book appeared in 13 languages. “This was a great experience because it started a process where I discovered a new world as seen through the eyes of a child.”
The book has come and gone, but the character lives on in Kohli’s paintings and sculptures.

Kohli is also a founding member of Bateau Laveau, a group of young Cape Town artists from diverse backgrounds decided to pool their resources and devote themselves full-time to creating art in 2002. (

Thembinkosi Kohli’s work is available through Worldart in Cape Town.

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