Born Winston Churchill Masakeng Saoli, In Acornhoek, Mpumalanga, South Africa on the 3rd January 1950 and died in 1995, homeless and penniless his death as controversial as his life.
At 19 Saoli was already recognized as the brightest prospects on the South African art scene. One of the most recognised artists of South African heritage. His first, and sold out, solo exhibition was at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg in 1969 and his paintings were already reproduced in art books.
In 1971 he was one of four artists to be chosen to make graphic art for the Graphic club of South Africa, in the same year he was asked to design the cover of the music album, Peace, by Jazz pianist Dollar Brand, later known as Abdullah Ibrahim.
In late 1972 he was in detention, in solitary confinement in John Voster square, where he was held for 9 months without trial.
His arrest came after he was “Identified” as a member of a group attending ANC meeting at the Witwatersrand University.
In 1973 and 1974 he took a diploma course in commercial art.
His paintings were included in many exhibitions abroad such as the Art from South Africa exhibition in Germany in 1979 and the 1994 Common Wealth Games Art and Culture Festival in Canada.
Vast amounts of his work reflect his own suffering and pain through the Apartheid era, others showing the South African continent void of life or joy, depicting it as a cow’s skull.
The Gerald A Lee Gallery currently has over 50 pieces of Winston’s original art.