Drawings

At the age of five he began modelling in clay, and later took to drawing in chalk on his older brother's school slate - until he had a slate of his own. When he was eight he attended the mission school, where pencils and paper were available and he realized that he had a special talent for drawing.

Some years later, he found an old sketch book belonging to his father, with crayon drawings. This was a revelation to Sekoto who had not known that coloured crayons existed. In 1928, he made first colour pencil drawings.

He began to draw; initially his subjects were his own family and then visitors who came to their house. For the rest of his life, his subject matter focused on people. From 1947-8, Sekoto lived in a tiny room on the Île de Saint Louis previously inhabited by South African artist Eugene Labuschagne where he attended drawing classes during the day at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Montparnasse.

In 1949, Sekoto spent some time in St Anne’s Asylum after a period of psychological stress spurred on by an argument exacerbated by alcohol with Raymond De Cardonne. During this time, he made a series of sketches of his fellow patients of the hospital, which exhibit a deeply empathetic understanding of depression and an economical use of line in depicting humanity.

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