John Koenakeefe Mohl , SA artist and founder member of Artists Under the Sun, dies in Soweto

'Only patch of sunshine' 1968 by Mohl. Source:

Monday, 28 January 1985

John Koenakeefe Mohl was born in Zeerust in the Noth West province. He began drawing at a very young age and would often get in trouble in school for not paying attention to his studies. . His father withdrew him from school so he could look after cattle.  A Reverend Hale of The London Missionary Society recognized his talent and convinced his father to allow him to draw. Mohl got an opportunity to accompany a German Artist to South West Africa (Namibia), where he received formal training at the Windhoek School of Art. He also studied at the Kunst-Akademie, Germany.

Mohl returned to South Africa and opened an art school in Sophiatown. Apartheid laws forced Mohl to close the school, after which he opened an art gallery under a European’s name. When Sophiatown was demolished, Mohl was forced to sell his work from home and refused to do business with commercial galleries. He later founded Artists under the Sun, which began as a group of township artists who showcased at Joubert Park  in Central Johannesburg. It has now grown to showcase artists from different backgrounds all over South Africa Mohl died on 28 January 1985.

• Loots, A. (2001) The Early Pioneer Artists of South Africa - John Koenakeefe Mohl”fro Vgallery [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 January 2013]
• Johans Borman John Mohl: A view of New Clare Location, Johannesburg[online] Available[Accessed on 16 January 2013]  

Last updated : 25-Jan-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 24-Jan-2013

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