Ramarutha Makoba is a South African artist living and working in Johannesburg. In his art practise he explores themes of community and family relationships through the symbol of a tree. Working and drawing predominately in charcoal, pastel and acrylic Makoba has a recognisable style. One of the recognisable features in his drawings and paintings is that of the bright coloured tree situated in and amongst the landscape and daily life of people from his community.
For Makoba a crucial part of his practice is incorporating how to give back. He as a result dedicates a significant amount of his time to giving back to his community. One of his means of giving back is through teaching, in order to empower the children he works with. Makoba did this to offer the children a way to get themselves into better situations.
Using a tree as a metaphor for the family unit has become a prominent feature in his works. In its representation as the family, he is collating ideas together. Ideas of the nurturing of children and their families, allowing their roots to take hold, to give them good grounding.
Makoba quotes Tyler Perry:
“I have this tree analogy when I think of people in my life…It goes like this: Some people come into your life and they are like leaves on a tree. They are only there for a season. You can’t be angry at them, it’s just who they are. There are some people who come into your life and they are like branches on a tree… In most cases they can’t handle too much weight. But again, you can’t be mad with them, it’s just who they are. If you can find some people in your life who are like the roots of a tree then you have found something special…Their job is to hold you up, come what may, and to nourish you, feed you and water you.”