Johannes Maswanganyi was born in 1948 at Msengi Village, near Giyani, Limpopo Province.Although younger than many of the sculptors from rural northern Limpopo, Johannes Maswanganyi, similarly, had no institutional art training; his father taught him to carve traditional and functional items such as utensils and headrests. 

Maswanganyi works in a variety of sizes depending on the wood available but prefers a larger scale. Initially he worked on the formal style set out in the nyamisoro as exemplified in the two sculptures in the collection, which date back to the late 1980s. Different, however, is that they are removed from tradition by virtue of their western style. It is figures such as these that became the prototypes for the many portraits Maswanganyi carved of local and national political leaders. Maswanganyi formulated and developed other concepts in the adoption of different subjects. For Christian and historical subjects he started to use more complex compositions using a number of figures. He also tried various ways to include landscapes in sculptural forms by including logs or twigs and covering them with household paint, following the style of another artist - Seoka - who lived relatively nearby and whose work he knew.

Maswanganyi also recognised in these encounters that there was a market for traditional beadwork; he started to collect older pieces and later developed, with his family, beadwork and embroidery items for sale to this market.


2001–2003: Motho ke motho ka batho (see Seoka). Collections Iziko SA National Gallery, Cape Town; Durban Art Gallery; University of the Witwatersrand; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Sanlam Art Collection, Bellville, Cape.

2001 onwards: Group Exhibitions, Mukondeni Fine Arts, Johannesburg.

1996: Colours, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.

1995: ZeitgenÁ¶ssische Kunst aus SÁ¼dafrika, Bayerische Vereinsbank Munich.

1994: State of the Art, Everard Read Contemporary Gallery, Johannesburg.

1989: Images in Wood, Johannesburg Art Gallery.

1988: Vita Art Now, Johannesburg Art Gallery; Group Show, FUBA, Johannesburg; The Neglected Tradition, Johannesburg Art Gallery.

1987: Solo exhibition, Market Theatre, Johannesburg.

1986: Standard Bank Foundation Collection of African Art, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

1985: Tributaries, Africana Museum in Progress, Johannesburg and Munich, Germany.