For his primary means of expression, Motaung weaves the familiar with the imagined to create a personal and intuitive evocation of history. Drawing inspiration from his day to day life in metropolitan Johannesburg where he lives and works — as well as from memories of his youth in the North West Province and his coming of age in Katlehong township — he brings the viewer closer to grasping the intangible by pushing beyond the possibilities of the physical, and attempting to plot the unmappable parts of the human mind. While the intangible is present, Motaung situates his works in the corporeal world. He says, “My work is situated in an unknown time and is influenced by the past and the present”.
He was the finalist of the PPC Imaginarium Awards hosted by the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery (2019). He took part in the artist residency program In Bed with artist in Cape Town (2017), hosted by Nico Athene and sponsored by ALMA MARTHA. His group exhibition so far include: The Precarity of Spectacle, Michaelis Galleries- University of Cape Town (2020, upcoming); A memory, A story., Centurion Gallery, Tshwane (2015); For Sale, Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane (2015); On the Table, Tswhane University of Technology (2014); Aerial Empire, Joburg Fringe - Independent Art Fair (2014); Creatures of Light, Freedom Park Heritage site & Museum, Tshwane, (2014).
In August 2020, Lerato Motaung won The Emergence Art Prize, which was organised by THK Gallery with support from Rand Merchant Bank. In Spring 2022 he will take up a two month residency at the innovative Quartier am Hafen Studio House on the banks of the Rhine in Cologne, Germany.
His work is included in In The Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun, which will be published by Thames & Hudson in spring 2022, and will be accompanied by a major exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London.
His work is included in collections around the world including two large paintings from 1-54 Paris at Christie's, which were acquired by Foundation H (Paris, Madagascar), a large scale painting for a planned museum in Cardiff, Wales, and two paintings in the Africa First Collection.