Layziehound Coka in his studio in Johannesburg, photo copyright Patrizia Litty

Layziehound Coka| The Hip Hopper

Layziehound Coka was born in Bilanyoni situated in Northern KwaZulu Natal in 1982. His early years were determined by the South African apartheid system that separated people of different race, and permitted very limited educational choices for people of colour. The 80s were characterized by turmoil, violence and the uprising of young, black people protesting against the regime. He attended a local primary school at Bilanyoni, before he moved to Inkamana, a Catholic High School in Vryheid in 1995. Coka matriculated at Sinethemba Agricultural and Technical Boys School. He moved to Gauteng in 2001 and started studying engineering in 2003 at Pretoria Technikon. He gave up engineering for fine art in 2005 when he started studying print making at Newtown’s Artist Proof Studio (APS). He has been working as a professional artist since graduating from APS in 2007 and predominantly works with acrylic and charcoal on paper or canvas. Layzie has participated in a number of group exhibitions and solo shows around South Africa as well as the US. In 2019, he participated in 2 international art fairs, ART Madrid and START art fair in London. Currently Layziehound Coka works from his studio in Johannesburg and lives with his wife and children between Pretoria and KwaZulu Natal.

Artist Statement

My art makes bold statements, which offer the necessary reflective healing for human elevation. My intense connection to my own spirituality allows me to unapologetically share.

In Zululand we’re widely known as the originals, because we speak the original Zulu language, just as jazz, it’s not the first sound but it’s got that basic original sound. I stem from a place where there’s nothing but hope. Music is rather a soothing element and a solace of some kind. It makes people feel one with the world that has economically segregated them. Nobody is bitter about that, instead they do like birds do, they fly away to places to acquire a bit of money. Bread winners are tourists in their own
homes, they keep the economy awake, it has never been alive except for when I visually speak of it. I don’t only see the good in my place and people, I metaphorically and metaphysically see who we can be, without depending on big towns and cities as our gateway to a better life or the world. I’m creating this virtual reality world called Bilanyoni, which blossoms for the whole world to know about the bunch of hopefuls with their unique mindset and undefeatable spirit of hope and resilience. We’re obsessed with happiness. Our ancestors are with us and our gods are guiding us. We can and will be better people after all. We stay true to the sound of our echoing hills and trenches and dance for our ancestors in the rhythm of stomping buffalos and elephants, because we invest in self discovery and preserve the way of life as our parents revealed it to us.

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Up Close

My process of creation is borne from an attraction to these messages, which I translate into a visual product. The metaphoric symbols and imagery used in my work are subtly provocative yet assertive in their approach to the punchlines in each particular piece, which include the use of sweeping lines, boxed text and a microphone – my signature icon- which serves as a representation of society’s internal dialogue.

I intend for my work to be a catalyst for deeper discourse between inner voice and instinct, and thought with decision. I try by all means to connect people with their feelings, as an advisor or teacher or a visual conjurer would do, in order to elevate minds to transcendent levels of reasoning. The experience of my artwork is not simply visual but allows for the movement of philosophical contemplation as the viewer is exposed to thoughts that are unique in their commonness.

My art makes bold statements, which offer the necessary reflective healing for human elevation. My intense connection to my own spirituality allows me to unapologetically share

Selected Exhibitions | 2005 to 2020

2020 | “Faces Of Africa”, group show, LITTY contemporary, South Africa

2019 | “Until Love Makes Sens” | solo show | Alliance Francais | Johannesburg, SA

2019 | START art fair, London
2019 | ART Madrid, art fair, Spain
2019 | AGOG gallery, group exhibition, Johannesburg
2019 | ODA, group exhibition, Franschhoek
2018 | ‘18 Nova Exclubition’, August House Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa
2018 | ‘Aftermath’, group exhibition, Rand Merchant Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa
2018 | ‘Talking To Deaf Ears’, group exhibition, ABSA Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa
2017 | ‘Dream Chasers’, solo exhibition, ODA Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa
2017 | ‘Hazardous Diction’, group exhibition, 13th Floor Gallery, Johannesburg, SA
2017 | ‘Pan Africa’, group exhibition, ODA | fine art, Franschhoek, SA
2017 | ‘Guns Are Drawn’, solo exhibition, Julie Miller Investment Art, Johannesburg, SA
2017 | ‘Solstice’, group exhibition, ODA | fine art, Franschhoek, SA
2017 | ‘Not a Judge, Not a Saint’, solo exhibition, Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town, SA
2016 | ‘Grey Areas’, Trent Gallery, Pretoria, SA
2016 | ‘Unfettered Egos and the Absence of Substance’, solo exhibition, MAP Contemporary, Melville
2016 | African Art, NY Affordable Art Fair, New York, USA
2016 | ‘Reconnection’, Alliance Francaise, Rosebank, SA
2016 | ‘What change there is?’, Gavin’s Project Gallery, Maboneng, SA
2016 | August House @ Hazard Gallery, Maboneng, SA
2016 | ‘Considering Genius’, Res Gallery, Rosebank, SA
2015 | Joburg Art Week, August House Gallery, Doornfontein, SA
2015 | Turbine Art Fair, Bayliss Gallery, Newtown, SA
2015 | ‘Eye Art’@ Gavinprojects, Rosebank, SA
2014 | ‘Art’, Gavinprojects, Sandton, SA
2012 | World Summit, IDC, Sandton, SA
2011 | ‘Collaborate’, Unity Art Gallery, Newtown, SA
2010 | ‘Do What You Love and Love What You Do’, solo exhibition, The Chemistry, Parktown North
2010 | ‘Wasted’, Unity Art Gallery, Newtown, SA
2010 | ‘Collaborate’, Unity Art Gallery, Newtown, SA
2009 | ‘Love Matters: Concerto no.26’, solo exhibition, Unity Art Gallery, Johannesburg, SA
2009 | APS, Belldewarhall, Houghton, SA
2009 | Sasol Signature Award Exibition, Pretorie Museum, Pretoria, SA
2009 | Thami Mnyele Award Exhibition, Scholtz Coen Recreation, Birchleigh North, SA
2009 | ‘Lyrical Sense and Sounds of Philosophy’, solo exhibition, The Peech Hotel, Melrose, SA
2008 | ‘Unity’, Unity Art Gallery, Johannesburg, SA
2008 | ‘Art’, Belldewarhall, Houghton, SA
2008 | Ekurhuleni Art Award, Scholtz Coen Recreation Centre, Birchleigh North, SA
2008 | Tracker, Randburg, SA
2008 | Afrika Day, Soweto, SA
2008 | Absa Competition, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, SA
2007 | ‘Identity’, Gallery on the Square, Sandton, SA
2007 | Final Year End Show, Artist Proof Studio, Newtown, SA
2007 | @ Spaza Art Gallery, Troyville
2007 | Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria
2007 | Belldewarhall Exhibition, Houghton, SA
2006 | Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria
2005 | ‘Emotions in Motion’, Bus Factory, solo exhibition, Newtown, SA

Video | interview 2017