Taoana nails it in rare art work


By Seleoe Nonyane

An upcoming and self-taught artist, Tlotliso Taoana has ventured into a unique form of art using nails.

Talking to theReporter this week, Taoana said he uses hundreds of metal pins to create 3D images. The pieces are then fitted into a sturdy plastic frame that is both lightweight and durable.

He said this type of artwork is built up on a gloss board that cannot be easily damaged even if it gets into contact with water; the board itself comes with a glass frame.


“I align and individually hammer thousands of tiny nails or tiny wire cut into one centimetre to create an intricate yet impactive, tactile and entirely unique artwork.

“Allowing the viewer to interact and interpret the image at various angles and distance, it actually looks clearer from a distance,” Taoana said.

He has done six pieces that include an artwork of Prime Minister Sam Matekane which he did during his inauguration.

He then did a piece of South African DJ Oscar Mbo. Recently he made a piece of local clothing brand called Joachim which brought him a lot of recognition.

Taoana said he discovered from an early age that he was into art and has been applying more unique strategies as he grew older. This is where he discovered this form of art that involves the use of nails, having started out with pencil and pen sketches.

He the idea came from a puzzle game he came across one day, where different colours made a clear piece if combined.

“I did some research on this form of art and asked myself what if instead of colour I use something that will make a realistic piece. Then I started using tiny wire cut into 1cm long pieces,” he explained.

Taoana said what he likes most about his art is that it is unique and rare in the world.

“I would like to believe that I am the only artist in Lesotho who creates this kind of artwork at the moment.

“And since it is something that is still very new in the country, I am always faced with the challenge of having to explain it to people and make them understand it.

“Basotho are not into art, so being an artist in a black society is generally very difficult,” he said.

Taoana revealed that he has never undergone any formal art training and that it is his talent, coupled with his passion and love for art, that got him this far. “This kind of art demands a lot of time and attention. It needs focus as one mistake could ruin the whole art work. I take up to 150 hours working on a single piece, depending on the nature of the project,” he added.


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