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About The Artist

Artist Photo

Artist CV

Tommy Trevor Seth Motswai, born 27 May 1963 in Soweto, Johannesburg.



  • 1968 - 1979: Attended Kutlwanong School for the Deaf.

Art Training

  • 1980 - 1982: Training at Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA)
  • Johannesburg Art Foundation (JAF)
  • Bill Ainslie's Art Studio
  • FUBA gallery

1982 - 1983: Assistant to Kurt Lossgott

1985: Santam Bursary

Solo Exhibitions

  • 1988: Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 1990: Natalie Knight Gallery.
  • 1992: Received the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award Work exhibited at the Grahamstown Festival Nation-wide year long tour.
  • 2000: Solo Exhibition - Potchefstroom Museum
  • 1999: Solo exhibition at the opening of the new Tourism Information and Development Centre in Rustenburg.

Group Exhibitions

  • 1986: Participated in the exhibition Tomorrow is Now which toured Canada from Toronto to Vancouver. The show was curated by Knight Galleries International and Natalie Knight - The Art Source South Africa.
  • 1988: Included in the Cape Town Triennial
  • 1995/6: Chosen as guest artist in Toronto of New Horizons Work selected to be exhibited by Centre for the Arts and the Bomani Gallery, both in San Francisco
  • 1997: Commissioned by Telkom to produce a work for the Art and the Internet exhibition, a nationwide exhibition which was also beamed to the world on the net
  • Selected by the Standard Bank as part of their social awareness campaign.
  • 2001: Joint exhibition - Millennium Gallery, Pretoria
  • 2003:
  • Prints from The Artists' Press Archive, Good Hope Gallery, The Castle, Cape Town.

Projects and Commissions

  • 1994: Commissioned to paint a portrait of President Mandela for the cover of Vogue Magazine (France).
  • 2000: Campaign Poster for Masifunde Sonke, Building a Nation of Readers.
  • Awake week of Disability of South Africans. Durban
  • Portrait of Thabo Mbeki on 1 May at Wintersveld


  • 1985: Santam Bursary Award
  • 1987: Volkskas Atelier Merit Prize
  • 1987: Sol Plaatjies Art Award; Excelsior Award
  • 1988: Vita Art Now Award - Winner of the 1st Quarterly Fine Art
  • 1989; Vita Art Now Award - Merit Award
  • 1992: Standard Bank Young Artist Award
  • 1992: Four Outstanding Young South Africans "FOYSA" 92

Public Collections

  • Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • SA National Gallery Cape Town
  • University of South Africa (UNISA)
  • University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)
  • Sasol Art Collection
  • Trust Bank Art Collection
  • Pretoria Art Museum
  • Durban Art Museum
  • King George VI Art Museum, Port Elizabeth


  • Humour in the Contemporary Artwork of Tommy Motswai by Bhavisha Laxmi Panchia, Master in Arts (History of Art) Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, November 2011. [Download PDF 2.68MB]

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