Lethabo Huma

Painting on a Digital canvas, Lethabo Huma’s virtual brushstrokes create expressive, personal New Media portraits

James Dorman |  Ed Peter Traynor |  10 July 2021

woman digital artist Lethabo Huma for Agora Digital Art

Pretoria-born Lethabo Huma (b.1998) brings classical, analogue painting techniques into the New Media space. Her digital paintings are a portal for crystalising and expressing her emotions and thoughts about her life experiences and the world around her. Though relatively new to professional Digital Art, Huma already boasts an impressive catalogue of vibrant and expressive portraiture.

As someone who has always struggled to express herself verbally, Huma was drawn to art from a young age as a way to visually express and articulate her thoughts and feelings. Huma has been a professional artist for five years; the first two years of her career saw her working in a more traditional, analogue artistic space. In exploring new techniques, Huma found Digital Art and this has become the focus of the last three years of her career. A self-taught Digital Artist, Huma currently uses the illustration app ‘Procreate’ to create her professional work. She is also expanding and honing her skills in New Media through her studies at the University of South Africa.

Current Event

Z4(@zahircreates) x Lethabo Huma: BLOOM (2021) © Courtesy of the artist.

What’s next?

NFTism: No Fear in Trying group show exhibition with UnitDrops a branch from UnitLondon

Curated by art writer and NFT commentator, Kenny Schachter, the exhibition will be launching on 10 September 2021.

Lethabo Huma, Monday Morning (2021) © Courtesy of the artist.

Did you know?

Huma curated her second group show “System Shock – 777 Exhibition” a virtual exhibition produced in collaboration with SuperRare and MoCDA. Designed over 7 months by the London-based platform for black artists Indivisual Gallery, the stunning virtual space sees evening light bleeding in through arched windows looking out at an expansive landscape – a beautiful environment to display the work of seven Digital Artists:

  • Yosnier Miranda
  • Thato Tatai
  • Mark Constantine Inducil
  • Lethabo Huma
  • Blacksneakers
  • Daniella Attfield
  • Thomas Stokes III
  • Lethabo Huma - Escapism 2020 for Agora Digital Art
  • Lethabo Huma - Escapism II 2020 for Agora Digital Art
Lethabo Huma, Escapism series (2021) © Courtesy of the artist.

Featured Projects

Gogo and Me (2021)

Lethabo Huma, Gogo and Me (2021) part of the Christie’s NFT group show “Proof of Sovereignty” © Courtesy of the artist.

Part of the Christie’s NFT group exhibition Proof of Sovereignty–curated by Lady Phe0nix–Huma sold her artwork alongside the works of big names in the world of Digital Art such as Claudia HartAuriea Harvey,  Nam June Paik and Josie Bellini.

In the family portrait Gogo (Grandmother) and Me, what immediately sets Huma’s work apart from others is her rich colour palette, used to convey her deepest emotions from her life stories.

Lethabo Huma, Beyond (2020), Digital Portrait ©Lethabo Huma Courtesy of the artist

Beyond (2020)

Huma contributed her piece Beyond to The Apocalypse Will Blossom, the first online exhibition from The Gallyry Magazine in May 2020.

Using a male muse for the portrait, Beyond is very much a response to the covid-19 pandemic. It seeks to evoke a feeling of perseverance, acting as an encouragement to get through this challenging time by looking beyond the current crisis and reminding the observer that this time – as with all things – will pass.

Lethabo Huma, See No Evil (2020), Digital Portrait ©Lethabo Huma Courtesy of the artist

See No Evil (2020), Midnight Blues (2019)

Huma has her work displayed in One/Off’s group crypto art exhibition Beyond Provenance: Speculative $Black Futures On The Blockchain. The exhibition features the work of 33 black artists and explores how blockchain technology can create an immutable public record of the contributions of black artists and allow the black creative community to control their narrative of who benefits from the value of their creativity.

Huma contributes See No Evil and Midnight Blues to the exhibition. Both pieces use a female muse for the portrait.

See No Evil takes inspiration from the Dr Martin Luther King quote “to ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it”. The piece depicts a woman covering her eyes with flower-covered hands. The flowers depicted are called Black-Eyed Susan, which are a symbol of justice. Justice is the overarching theme of the work – if those who witness acts of violence or injustice against others choose to ignore them, injustice continues. However, a difference can be made in the world when those who have the opportunity to do what is right act upon it.

Midnight Blues was born from nights of insomnia due to stress and anxiety. The work is a reminder of the importance of caring for and nourishing one’s mind.

Lethabo Huma, Hiatus (2019), Digital Portrait ©Lethabo Huma Courtesy of the artist

Hiatus (2019), OUCH! (2019), Revelation (2019)

Huma contributed work to the 2020 exhibition Museum Night at The Ekaterinburg Academy of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia. The exhibition featured the work of digital artists from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Huma again contributed Midnight Blues, along with the pieces Hiatus, OUCH! and Revelation.

Hiatus depicts a female muse in a moment of reflection, with red outlines on the portrait drawing attention to the subject’s gaze – drawn into thought. The theme of the piece is one of interruption and the silencing of life around one who is in a reflective state.

OUCH! uses a male muse. Yet another deeply personal piece for Huma, it was created during a time when her life felt upside down. In her own words, she was “losing all aspects” of her life with “OUCH!” being the best way she could describe her feelings about all that was going on at the time.


Listen to a fireside chat between Visa’s Head of Crypto, Cuy Sheffield, and Lethabo Huma, a rising crypto artist, on the black crypto art ecosystem. Lethabo has been on the forefront of the crypto art movement, tokenizing her pieces on SuperRare, and shares about her experience as an artist on the cusp of the rise in NFTs.

Key achievements

2021, Huma was selected for the top 15 of the Yogi Sip Young Creators’ Network.

Recent shows

Solo/Group Shows

2020, Beyond Provenance: Speculative $Black Futures On The Blockchain, Virtual Exhibition

2020, AfroTech World Conference, Virtual Exhibition

2020, Dream Catcher, Group Exhibition, Daly City, California, US

2020, The Parallel Transition, Group Exhibition, Daly City, California, US

2020, Ixhibit: Redefining Virtual Exhibitions, Virtual Exhibition

2020, The Apocalypse Will Blossom, Online Exhibition

2019, Archive Store: Mall of Africa, Live Illustration

Museums or Fairs

2020, Museum Night 2020, The Ekaterinburg Academy of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia

NFT sales

2021, Natively Digital by Sotheby’s

2021,  Proof of Sovereignty by Christie’s

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