Through art and their brotherhood, Fhatuwani Mukheli, Mthuthuzeli “Sthu” Manaka and Justice Mukheli are redefining masculinity and turning modern South African urban culture into art for everyone.

Hailing from Soweto, the formation of My Loves the brand started out of a brotherhood amongst Fhatuwani, Mthuthuzeli, and Justice.  Through their art, the trio want to share their experiences and challenge gender stereotypes. 

“One of the biggest reasons why we call our collective My Loves is redefining masculinity for ourselves, redefining how we present ourselves as men in a more mindful way, and contributing to the gender conversation in a way that is thoughtful,” explains Justice.

From their humble beginnings in Soweto, the three members of the trio have made successful careers out of their passion, and we had the privilege of joining them at their studio in Johannesburg.

“The reason why we chose this space is because it is a beautiful central space, it is an artistic hub in Jozi, there is a really lovely energy here, there’s a lovely crowd of people that moves through the space, it is very inspiring.” While at their studio, we found out a bit more about what inspires their magnificent artworks. 

“The themes of my work are centred around the spirit realm, how we question what is love, how we question the essence of who we are when we are with other people,” explains Mthunthuzeli, “My work is a communication between two people where we define what love is.”

Fhatuwani  first discovered his passion for art when he was just seven-years old. His father painted a portrait of him and his brother, and it sparked a creative light in his heart.

“My art is inspired by my childhood adventures and the things I used to do as a kid, and also communicates what I am feeling,” he says. For Justice however, he is trying to use his art to relook at masculinity and gender stereotypes.

“The work that I’m working on is relooking at masculinity and unpacking it for myself, I was raised in a community where gender roles were strictly defined,” he explains, “Man had to be bold, strong and divorce themselves from their own emotions.”

The My Loves art movement educates the market, enables art lovers, fans and collectors access to their work at competitive prices and in one place.

As a message to up and coming creatives, each of the trio put his art where his mouth is. They collaborated with a major brand, raising a staggering amount for the talents of tomorrow.  

“If you are young and you wish to be where we are, it is very important to remember that we also started somewhere and we used what we have to get to where we are so don’t wait for opportunity to come to you, create your own opportunity with what you have around you.”

Whether you choose a career in art or art chooses you, the ups are even better and the downs never as bad, when travelling the road together.

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