Born in 1995 in the rural village of Mokopane, located in Limpopo, Tumelo Mphela received early encouragement from his teachers at Madibane High School due to his artistic talents. These formative years in his hometown inspired him to pursue a career in the arts.
Currently residing in Pretoria, Tumelo pursued a degree in Fine and Applied Arts at Tshwane University of Technology. Although he initially developed a strong affinity for pencil drawings, appreciating the versatility of pencils in creating intricate textures and tones, he has since expanded his artistic repertoire to include sculpture. His artworks frequently tackle pressing social issues with the aim of evoking emotional responses from viewers.
Tumelo Mphela's artistic passion lies in charcoal drawing and acrylics on canvas. His works often depict children holding matchsticks, serving as a metaphor for mining activities in communities. These matches symbolize the power, energy, and actions inherent in both the mining industry's victims and the capitalists involved. Children, as depicted in his art, wield great influence over society's future, yet they also suffer the consequences of mining activities.
Mphela possesses an extraordinary talent for evoking emotions through his art, using the medium to craft a sensory experience that tells stories about our fragile environment, limited resources, and socio-political issues. In many of his works, he portrays his younger sister through drawings and paintings, finding a deep connection with them during the artistic process. Every detail, texture, and vibrant color he employs serves to heal his soul and bring him inner peace