Thembinkosi Kohli was born in 1978 and lives in Mbekweni, a township near Paarl in the Western Cape, South Africa.
He was a student at "Desmond Tutu High School" an upon completing, he enrolled for a three year course in painting, drawing and ceramics at the "Community Arts Project" (1999-2001). In 2002 he studied at "Ruth Prowse College" where he visited courses in craft and design.
He started experimenting with caricature and comics. Soon after his art facilitator arranged for him, he attend an illustration and writing workshop at the "University of Cape Town" (2003). It is here that his idea of a character called 'Tjufi' (Q-Phy) was born.
Kohli is a founding member of Bateau Laveau, a group of young Cape Town artists from diverse backgrounds decided to pool their resources and devote themselves full-time to creating art in 2002. They called themselves Bateau Laveau, partly in homage to one of the pioneers of contemporary art, Picasso, and partly because they were about to embark on a new journey of unparalleled creative discovery. Bateau Laveau represents a new, liberated generation of creative individuals who are taking their rightful place among the international art world. The artworks produced by Bateau Laveau - be they figurative or abstract - are rooted in the context of their experiences in South Africa, of a profound awareness and commitment to creative freedom.(www.art-exchange.com)
During the latest years Kohli has been very successfully and was able to publish two children's books in 2002 and to draw regularly cartoons for newspaper or design posters for AIDS projects. Since 1999 he took part in several exhibitions, like in the "District Six Museum", the "National Art Gallery" (Annex), the "Association for Visual Art", the "Ikwezi Art Centre", the "Nonjingi Gallery", the "Wellington Art Gallery", the "Alexander Brest Museum" in New York and the "Association for Visual Arts" again in New York.
About his art:
Kohli writes about himselves: "I have been painting for almost the rest of my life. I have been very much moving towards cartoonism lately with my first character called 'Tjufi'."
"'Tjufi' is a boy who tries to run and hide from his shadow. Our shadows are a reflection of who we are, and to run away will not solve our problems," he says. The invention of 'Tjufi' led to the publishing of a book titled "The Shadow with Tjufi as its central figure". The book appeared in 13 languages. "This was a great experience because it started a process where I discovered a new world as seen through the eyes of a child."
The book has come and gone, but the character lives on in Kohli's paintings and sculptures.