During his lifetime, he was the first black artist to exhibit at the South African National Gallery, soon after the present building was opened, first in 1931 and then in 1933. At the Grahamstown Arts and Craft Festival Exhibition in March 1932, Tladi won the first and second prizes in the open section for landscape and seascape painting. Thus, the exhibition being presented in Grahamstown can be regarded as his second homecoming.
Moses Tladi Unearthed features approximately 30 paintings by Tladi, sourced from institutional and personal collections in South Africa and overseas. An “in context” approach showcasing other artists who worked in a similar vein, or at the same time, are also included. This survey of the artistic career of the largely unknown Tladi, brings greater insight into Tladi, in his time and place.
This exhibition is a tribute to a man who pursued his love for painting despite the difficult socio-economic conditions and hardships of his time, and re-introduces the public to this accomplished painter.
Moses Tladi Unearthed has been generously funded by Iziko Museums of South Africa, the National Arts Festival, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Centre for Curating the Archive at the University of Cape Town.