‘Smoke is not just a medium for me – I view it as a way of expressing the soul. It allows me to look beyond the physical realm and to capture the essence of the spirit.’….. Azael Langa,
Azael Langa, a fine artist and sculptor, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1988. A practitioner of the artistic technique of fumage, Azael uses smoke from candles and other sources, creating works on canvas or paper which depict different scenarios from his local community in South Africa.
After studying at the East Rand School of Arts in Benoni, South Africa , Azael went on to study Fine and Applied Art at Tshwane University of Technology. His works have been exhibited internationally as well as USA and have also been featured in publications.
Sources of inspiration
Azael’s primary inspiration is close to home resulting in him creating illustrations relating to stories, people and events in his local community as a way of highlighting the importance that these have had in shaping his views and his identity. His work often explores pertinent social issues such as exclusion and exploitation as well as the dualism which exists between the individual and society.
Azael’s work is mostly figurative, with his subjects often carrying a home as a subtle way of saying that we carry our loved ones with us wherever we go. The image of a four roomed house is a symbol of love, warmth, care and comfort – four characteristics which define Langa’s experiences of home whilst growing up as a child.
Azael’s work seeks to honour the unseen men and women in society, who he refers to as “the overlooked shadows of the city, desperately trying to survive and make a living.” These shadows form the backbone of the economy, yet they are often ignored and forced to suffer in silence. Through his work, Azael aims to shine a spotlight on these men and women and tell their stories as a token of appreciation. To capture and immortalise these people, Azael uses candle smoke.
Azael makes a lasting contribution to the art world, history and to encourage people to become more aware of the overlooked individuals within society. In the future, he would like to create a platform for young artists in the disadvantaged communities in his home town in South Africa.
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