AN ARTISTS’ INITIATIVE
The Travelling Art Gallery is an artists’ initiative and driven by some incredible talent from South Africa.
Below are some of the artists that are part of The Travelling Art Gallery 2018 in Germany. In total there are works of twelve different artists that will be travelling with us:
Artist Andrew Ntshabele lives and works in the inner city of Johannesburg, and his art is informed by this environment. His mixed media paintings – a fusion of collage and acrylic –depict what he sees and lives with every day.
Andrew was born in the small rural town of Moruleng in the North West province but moved with his family to the city at a young age. He studied art at the University of Johannesburg and was awarded his BTech degree, majoring in painting, in 2013.
“I have lived in Johannesburg since the age of four and have witnessed its physical, socio-economic and political changes post-Apartheid,” he explains. “I still live in the inner city where I’m confronted by poverty, pollution and urban decay every day. I’m interested in the people who live in this environment, in the negative effects of rapid urbanisation and how they put a strain on the people I encounter and interact with daily.”
Andrew’s work investigates the social predicament of the city to understand the root causes of the current inner city decay. “My work is a social commentary on the socio-economic challenges that the majority of black South Africans face in a post-colonial South Africa. My focal subject matter is often the pollution and rubbish amongst which the inner city residents live, which is why my paintings incorporate more than one medium. They’re a fusion of collage and acrylic paint and are produced from photographs I take on my daily travels around the inner city and its outskirts.”
Sizwe Khoza was born in Mozambique but moved to Johannesburg as a child. He attended Saturday classes at a printmaking studio and art training facility while in school, and went on to study there, graduating as one of the top students in his class in 2012. After serving a residency at William Humphrey Art Gallery in Kimberley under the mentorship of Dumisani Mabaso, he returned to Johannesburg where he teaches art and works as an artist.
Twice a year Sizwe travels to Mozambique where he takes photographs that inspire his work. He specialises in monotype and combined printmaking techniques and has had numerous exhibitions.
“My work started as a comparison between a game of chess and my background,” he says. “In chess, the King has to be protected, and other pieces are sacrificed to do this. In recent years I’ve focused a lot on the Queens – the women in my life – and the Pawns, and have now introduced other pieces, like the Rooks, Bishops and Knights, who also played a major role around me. I focus on portraits to tell the story from the eyes and facial expressions. I use monotypes as a way to express the fact that life itself never repeats, but actions do repeat almost like a rhyme. As in the game of chess, you can’t make the same move twice, but the game will be played again and again with similar actions and consequences.”
“I’m also intrigued by how kids live life, enjoy each moment without worry about tomorrow, living with joy and wonder for all the things around them.”
Corné Theron was born in Worcester in the Western Cape in 1974. She matriculated in Bloemfontein and went on to study law at the University of the Orange Free State, graduating in 1997 with an LLB, after which she married and moved to Swellendam. She currently lives on a wine farm in the Breedekloof.
She practised as a conveyancer for two years but resigned to explore other areas of self-expression. She started taking art classes at Rust and Vrede Gallery in Durbanville and subsequently participated in two group exhibitions there and hosted several private exhibitions. She was chosen as one of 10 artists for the Fresh Talent exhibition held by the Crouse Art Gallery. She has sold a number of paintings to clients in various parts of the country and overseas.
She describes herself as contemporary neo-optical artist. In her abstract figures, she often portrays images of women who find themselves underwater. “I examine our reactions to environments that are foreign to our natural abilities and control,” explains Corné. “I experiment with different types of glass as filters to create my images. I enjoy exploring the fact that our eyes are not developed to see underwater, so the images are blurred. I use water as a metaphor for our subconscious. A neuropsychiatrist friend of mine calls the subconscious our stored memory. Most of our reactions stem from our ‘programming’. I am fascinated by the way we mostly react towards each other without first logically thinking about it and reasoning about it. The sources of our influence and the way it impacts us, in terms of our individuality and the way we relate to each other, motivates my work.”
Edward Selematsela was born in the rural area of Modjadji in Limpopo. He studied business and art at Eastside College (now Johannesburg College) in Troyeville before starting a fine arts degree at the University of South Africa.
He met the late Dulcie Robinson, an esteemed Johannesburg artist, in the 1990s and she became his mentor, encouraging him and promoting his art. Together they also founded the Little Artist School in downtown Johannesburg in 1995. The project began in an orphanage to provide an activity for the children after school but soon reached out further to other disadvantaged children. Deutsche Bank has sponsored the Little Artist School since 2004 and it has grown in stature, producing many notable South African artists over the years. Edward still volunteers his time at the school, where he teaches and mentors students.
In 1997 Edward received the merit of excellence award from the French Culture Centre in Pessac, Bordeaux. He was also awarded top honours in the Black Like Us competition in 2007. His paintings focus on rural Limpopo and the pride, humanity and simple life of its people.
Many companies and individuals from across the world have invested in Edward’s art, including Vox United in the USA, the South African Embassy in Madagascar, Deutsche Bank, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council, Wright Rose-Innes, the Development Bank of South Africa and the University of Johannesburg.
For Michaela Rinaldi, art was a love and passion since early childhood. However, she never pursued it after school because starting a family required a steady income. But when she resigned from her job in sales in 2010, she decided to follow her heart and start painting.
“My art is my process,” she says. “A journey of growth through painting. An awakening of consciousness through my gift and a therapy that I’m compelled to go to daily and relentlessly.”
Self-taught, Michaela works primarily in acrylics, charcoal and ink but loves to experiment.
“I am constantly finding new techniques and new ways of expressing myself. I am following no rules, no set format or trying to please. I paint from the heart, truth is my only way. I am not concerned with proportion or perfection. I capture a feeling.”
“If you were to look at my art you would probably describe it as Abstract Figurative, but that is only what the eyes see. I paint from a place of feeling, the pieces are not literal, but all come from a deep place within. I would encourage you to look at my paintings with your heart, rather than your eyes. Don’t be concerned with my story, what is yours? How does the painting make you feel? What emotions and feelings does it stir in you? How does it resonate with you?”
“If you can look at the piece in this way, the painting will take on a whole new life, different from person to person. A personal and intimate experience. If I can achieve this in you, then my piece is complete.”
Justice Mathonsi’s work explores the lives of the people who raised him, showing the connection between his life and his relatives. Born in Soweto in 1987 but raised in rural Limpopo, he specialises in lino reduction and works as an artist and printmaker.
“My body of work pays homage to the many women who raised me,” he says. “I grew up in a rural area called Ribugwani in Limpopo. I was raised by the elderly women in my community who became my grandmothers. Under their guidance, I learned about Tsonga values and culture and how to be a man.”
“My body of work consists of large-scale portraits of these individual women to emphasise their importance in my life and within the community. My portraits are very detailed and show the elements of time, age, history and knowledge evident in the lines of their faces. The large portraits confront the viewer to acknowledge the huge role these women play in raising children, which is often not recognised in our society. They are humble women elevated to an important status through my mark making, and the pattern pays homage to my Tsonga roots. I see this body of work as a record of my family tree.”
Corné Eksteen was born in Zastron in the Free State. He studied towards a BA in Fine Art at the University of Pretoria and at the University of South Africa, then spent several years working in related fields, from menswear design to interior decorating and digital design. He now lives in Durban and has been actively working and exhibiting as a visual artist since 1996.
His work relies on both figurative and abstract painting traditions in the creation of pieces that not only represent the physical appearance of his sitters, but also reflects on and explores their inner life and state of mind. “The works attempt to visually dissect and deconstruct the subject matter in the pursuit of an understanding of the dynamics and transient nature of the 21st century psyche,” he says. “They are intended to evoke discussion on the idea of personal identity as a series of disjointed concepts in a continuous state of flux. A search for new archetypes for the 21st century.”
Works are created through a process that include several sessions with a sitter, followed by digital manipulation of reference materials before the actual painting is started. Paintings are created using several often experimental techniques and rely on finding a balance between the transparent and opaque, dark and light, the controlled and the expressive. The completed images are seemingly simplistic, but confront on many levels with their raw emotional complexity.
Lebohang Sithole was born on the East Rand, north-east of Johannesburg, where he still lives. After five years of studying professional printmaking, he had his first solo exhibition, entitled ‘Intathakusa’ (‘Before the sun rises’) in 2016.
While he’s predominantly known for his printmaking, Lebohang also works in other mediums, including soft pastels, acrylics and charcoal. In his printmaking, he combines drypoint with monoprint to create unique prints.
His subject matter is inspired by his grandfather, who was a musician. “My grandfather was the lead singer and organist for the Amajembe Jazz Band and I was born the same day he died. Almost everything that my grandfather did during his lifetime is closely paralleled with the things that I do in my life,” he explains. “When I visit my grandfather’s house I get the feeling I have lived there, when I touch his instruments, I feel I have played them, when I look at his photograph, I see myself. Looking at my grandfather’s strength and belief in who he was has encouraged me as an artist. I believe that one person can inherit a something special from a family member and be recognised as that person. My work is dedicated to him.”
Children are also a strong theme in Lebohang’s work. “I like to explore images of children. In every family, country and race that a child is born into, the environment influences the development of that child, and determines who he or she becomes. Children are a symbol of growth, resulting in a defining perspective of ‘I am what I am because I am determined by the way I have grown up’.”
Ramarutha Makoba was born in Soweto in 1984 where he grew up in Diepkloof Zone 3 and 4. From an early age he loved watching cartoons and used to draw his favourite characters. His father was a good artist but treated art as a hobby. It was his grandmother who was the first person to encourage Ramarutha to take his art seriously.
When Ramarutha was 13, he attended art classes at a local community centre where Chris Molefe had a profound influence on his work. He later attended workshops at the Johannesburg Art Gallery and completed a two-year course at FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists). He has also completed a three-year professional printmaking programme, where he received certificates of excellence for his work.
He is now Head Teacher at the Little Artist School, a Johannesburg-based project that creates an opportunity for disadvantaged youth to attend art classes and to learn a skill, and continues to produce unique works that combine print processes, painting and charcoal.
“Scratching into the plate allows me to create an image that reflects a time and place that is close to me,” says Ramarutha. “My work deals with social ignorance and the hardship of people with few resources. The works express a personal story of my relationship with my community.”
Semi Lubisi grew up in Ivory Park to the east of Johannesburg. He started drawing when he was at primary school, where he says one of his teachers changed his life when he bought him a drawing book. After school he went on to study electrical engineering, but dropped out and instead went back to his drawings. “I knew this is what I was meant to do from a young age,” he says.
Semi has no formal art education. He taught himself how to draw from reading art books and admiring the work of other artists. “I learn everyday from every stroke; every critic is an opportunity to develop,” he says.
As a fine artist, Semi specialises in street scenes. “My inspiration is derived from the everyday lives of ordinary South Africans, from children playing in the townships to the normal ambience of ordinary citizen’s movements.” He used watercolours, charcoal, ink and acrylics for his drawings, and sometimes collage.
He gained a Top 100 Certification at the Thami Mnyele Fine Art Awards in 2017 and is a member of ART@Zoo Lake. “It inspires me when local and international customers enjoy my work and that motivates me to continue to work even harder and share my talent with the world.”
David Kuijers was born in Vanderbijlpark near Johannesburg of Dutch immigrant parents. His father was a part-time artist who painted under the pseudonym B. Arteld. Surrounded from a very young age by art materials and books, art was always going to be a part of his life. He completed his schooling at the Art, Music and Ballet School (now ProArte) in Pretoria, with a distinction in Graphics and the “Best Painter” award for the year.
He went on to earn a diploma in Graphic Design at the Cape Teknikon (now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology) where he majored in Illustration, and received the Merit Award for 1989 on graduating.
After freelancing as a designer/illustrator for some years, he received some large commissions, which helped to ease his transition to working as a full-time artist in 1999. These commissions included work for The President Hotel in Bantry Bay, The Radisson Blu at the V&A Waterfront, the Mediclinic Private Hospital Group and Tiger Foods.
In 2002 a book, entitled ‘David Kuijers Paints the Town’ was published in Cape Town. In 2004 he worked with British Publishers, DeMontford Fine Art and was included in their ‘Ultimate Collection’ of that year.
David currently lives in Greyton with his wife and three children. He works in a variety of styles and techniques, broadly separated (by himself) into four categories according to the techniques employed. He is known for his fun and playful style and work that incorporates clean cut lines and vibrant colours.
Susan Proctor Hume
Susan Proctor Hume grew up in Johannesburg immersed in artistic culture. Her mother Marta Proctor, who she describes as one of her greatest creative influencers, was a painter, sculptor, ceramicist and poet. However, Susan never formally studied art and says she only picked up a palette knife in 2014 when a stress-induced illness sparked a need to pursue a more artistic direction.
Before turning to art, Susan had a successful career in interior design where she worked in the corporate and commercial design sector. Some of her blue-chip clients included the US Embassy, Johnson & Johnson and SAB.
The mother of two says that she paints completely from her heart and is inspired by nature, politics, religion, colour / tone, romance, faces and world events. “I use life experiences and inspiration from my travels and love for all things natural,” she says. “I make notes and do sketches in my journal, and photograph textured surfaces and objects all the time.”
Much of her work is a social commentary and she produces art that offers a controversial view of world affairs. While her early work was largely oil on canvas, she has branched into mixed media and is using found objects in her work. She says her style can best be described as abstract expressionism.
Susan lives in Cape Town and has exhibited both in the Western Cape and internationally, most notably at New International Artists in Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, as well as in Rotterdam, London and Oxford. She has a growing list of sought-after patrons and her paintings are in homes in Australia, France, the US and UK as well as in South Africa.