Art comes naturally for Dr Hlaole

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Everyone has a favourite pastime, and for Dr Hontse Hlaole, a qualified dental surgeon at Elim Hospital, this means getting in touch with her creative side. The good doctor loves spending her leisure time painting canvases, and they are exceptionally good.

Hlaole (36), who hails from Louis Trichardt, graduated from the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2012 with a degree in dentistry. When asked why she had studied to become a dentist instead of a professional artist, she said she had been motivated by the lack of African female representation in this profession in her community.

Her passion for art, however, dates way back to her early childhood, when she would devote nearly all her free time to honing her sketching skills. When she was in the tenth grade at the Holy Trinity High School, she became aware of her colour sensitivity in biology class, which required detailed sketching. “That was when I realised I had a special gift. I enjoyed sketching and I was good at it, so I took that through university,” she said.

Hlaole works with oil paint, acrylic, watercolours, gouache, oil pastels, soft pastels, pencils, and charcoal to produce her beautiful art. Her latest project is a series of big African cats - but only females.

“It is an expression of female power and prowess. It illustrates how we exist as we are, and that we are not defined by what we do or offer to other people. I believe that art should provoke some type of emotion, thinking, or change in behaviour, and the energy I express in my artwork gets me a lot of positive feedback from art lovers,” she said.

For more information about her artwork, call Hlaole on 063 686 9734 or follow her on Facebook (Hontse Hlaole Art).



Dr Hontse Hlaole, a dental surgeon at Elim Hospital, is also a highly skilled artist who loves spending her free time painting beautiful canvases. Photo supplied.


By: Thembi Siaga

Thembi Siaga started as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people. Currently he works as a freelance journalist, covering stories in the Elim area.

Thembi studied at the Tshwane University of Technology, where he completed his diploma in Journalism in 2021.






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