Thato Mwosa (pictured) is a multifaceted artist who is the owner of Tuli Art, a business that specializes in illustrations of Black ballerinas. When she started decorating her daughter Tuli’s room, Thato wanted a ballerina-themed décor. After finding that Black and Brown ballerina art was scarce, Thato decided to make illustrations inspired by her daughter. The result is a truly remarkable array of ballerinas in different poses wearing bold and vibrant costumes, and the ballerinas have become a hit with parents of young girls of color and their friends of other races.
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“I believe in personalizing the ballerina illustrations as much as I can. My customers give me the name of their daughters/granddaughters/nieces, etc… and their favorite colors. After that, the magic happens. Sometimes I even add a little bedazzling on the illustrations!” Mwosa says.
So far, Thato has created more than 30 ballerinas, and because of the high demand for her work, Thato is currently working on a children’s book targeting little ballerinas of color.
Ballerinas are not the only art that Thato specializes in. Her Afrik Art Series is inspired by vibrant, bold, and colorful African fractals. In her Afrik illustrations, Thato captures the beauty of a modern and cosmopolitan Afrocentric woman who is sophisticated, fierce, and not afraid of expressing herself in bold colors. The designs are intricate patterns that embody the Afropolitan essence.
“African women are often depicted in primitive settings, either carrying babies or other burdens on their back or water jugs on their head. I wanted to draw more sophisticated and cosmopolitan African women who are rarely depicted in African art — African women you can find on the streets of Gaborone, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, London, or New York. They enjoy African fabrics, natural hair, and bold lipstick.”
Thato is also an award-winning filmmaker, a screenwriter, and a film teacher in the Boston Public School system. She is currently working on her MFA in Stage and Screen Writing at Lesley University. She balances working on multiple projects with enjoying life at home with her three kids and her husband in Boston.
Buy Mwosa’s artwork from Tuli Art here.