ARLINDO MAUNDE

Born in Mozambique in 1969 Arlindo left his home country to escape the civil war at the age of eighteen.

A manager at the South African Breweries where Arlindo worked as a deliveryman recognized his talent and encouraged him to pursue his art. This motivated him and in 1996 he decided to become a full-time visual artist.

With no formal art education Arlindo has become a successful artist who has triumphed over adverse circumstances and whose works have been exhibited in South Africa, Italy, Australia, USA, Germany, Portugal, UK and Dubai.

AZAEL LANGA

‘Smoke is not just a medium for me – I view it as a way of expressing the soul. It allows me to look beyond the physical realm and to capture the essence of the spirit.’.. Azael Langa,

Azael Langa, a fine artist and sculptor, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1988. A practitioner of the artistic technique of fumage, Azael uses smoke from candles and other sources, creating works on canvas or paper which depict different scenarios from his local community in South Africa.

After studying at the East Rand School of Arts in Benoni, South Africa , Azael went on to study Fine and Applied Art at Tshwane University of Technology. His works have been exhibited internationally as well as USA and have also been featured in publications.

Sources of inspiration

Azael’s primary inspiration is close to home resulting in him creating illustrations relating to stories, people and events in his local community as a way of highlighting the importance that these have had in shaping his views and his identity. His work often explores pertinent social issues such as exclusion and exploitation as well as the dualism which exists between the individual and society.

Azael’s work is mostly figurative, with his subjects often carrying a home as a subtle way of saying that we carry our loved ones with us wherever we go. The image of a four roomed house is a symbol of love, warmth, care and comfort – four characteristics which define Langa’s experiences of home whilst growing up as a child.

Artistic intentions

Azael’s work seeks to honour the unseen men and women in society, who he refers to as “the overlooked shadows of the city, desperately trying to survive and make a living.” These shadows form the backbone of the economy, yet they are often ignored and forced to suffer in silence. Through his work, Azael aims to shine a spotlight on these men and women and tell their stories as a token of appreciation. To capture and immortalise these people, Azael uses candle smoke.

Azael makes a lasting contribution to the art world, history and to encourage people to become more aware of the overlooked individuals within society. In the future, he would like to create a platform for young artists in the disadvantaged communities in his home town in South Africa.

GREATJOY NDLOVU

Is a full time visual artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was born in the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He went on to study Art at Cyrene Mission in the Southern part of Matabeleland region in Zimbabwe. He has been enjoying a steady rise into art world prominence within South Africa, with exhibitions at national art fairs and galleries. His current body of work renders more of its focus on the portrayal of masculinity, identity and the abstract representation of the nature of thought conceptions, particularly in light of mindset generation as expressed in his 2019 series “Conversations of a Man” .

His principal theme circumnavigates around merging motion and emotion to arouse mental images wrapped in synchrony to his style of art.
Greatjoy’s style notably kisses expressionistic and representationalistic ideas with figurative drawings, while retaining an enthralling tinge of abstraction that frequently lurks in his works. Included also in his works are mind piercing forms of portraiture which seek to decipher internal truths and meanings with such lightness of detail, rather than merely beaming goodly but shallow surficial semblances.
Greatjoy’s work starts from light-hearted, experimental sketches that develop in to large scale detailed works or even an entire series without losing an experimental element that so characterizes his work.

His work is strongly influenced by challenges incurred by men in society. It aims to table talk and to inspire men and the greater society to raise and tackle these challenges with an elevated degree of seriosity, and it also presses more on the need to help socialize and educate our young boys differently. These notions are carved out from personal experiences lived and are contained and well referenced in his autobiographical art book, “The Path to Greatjoy“. The book has come to resonate with many art enthusiasts around the globe as an engrossing read for keeps for passionate art l Greatjoy’s canvas stands a testator of his exploratory genius with diverse material, evidenced in the manner and the piecing up of his riveting techniques, as revealed and shed across much of his art series. Such touch of creativity in his approach has set to make him one of the sought after African artists posed to gain world acclaim in the art scene of his generation.

Apart from art, Greatjoy is also a philanthropist, working alongside non-profit organizations such as the SOS Children’s Village and Operation smile. He believes charity, work ethic, education and creativity serve as key catalysts to the development of our communities.

In 2017, Greatjoy was featured on Destiny Magazine, in the article entitled “Bold and Distinguished“ along with other nominated artists. He has since been interviewed in high profile TV and radio broadcast segments in programs such as “Power Business”, “Business Of The Arts” and the renowned top notch lifestyle TV show, “TopBilling”.

2018 saw him invited to the panel for a discussion on the relationship of art to peace, and social change, held on the 50th Anniversary of Reginald Turvey by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai of South Africa, which was hosted at the Berman Contemporary in Sandton.
He was also presented for ArtTalk at Starbucks (Conversations over Coffee) to converse about his concept, “The Alpha Male Enquiry” as was discussed in his autobiography book “The Path to Greatjoy”.
2019 saw him be a recipient of a three-month European based international artist residence award by the Southern African Foundation For Contemporary Art (SAFFCA) in Knysna, Western Cape with French artist Luc Detot.

Greatjoy’s work forms a part of various art troves of collectors, the likes of the famous comedian Trevor Noah, ABSABank, South African Horizons, Invisionit Capital Solutions, Vision Capital Management, GAPP Architects and Urban Designers.

KOFI AGORSOR

Art does not depend on someone prescribing a mainstream system. Art is freedom” – Kofi Agorsor

Kofi Agorsor is a Ghanian born artist who attended the Ankle College of Art in Accra during 1989. Agorsor works predominantly in painting and sculpture but he also has a vibrant musical practice.

In his paintings, Agorsor uses pulsating colors that become an interpretation of the essence of lived experiences of modern Ghanaians. His subject matter borders on the generic but rendered often in a buoyant, semi-abstract and witty manner.

His canvases may be sparsely populated, often with a solitary figure in a sensuous pose or two lovers enjoying the presence of each other. Alternatively, his canvases may be highly populated, inhabited by crowds of market women or glitterati at events. Some of the canvases may be encumbered with splashes, drips and flows of paint that intertwine to become forests or mazes of enchantment.

His Sculptures, on the other hand, are a physical embodiment of spontaneous orderliness.

Agorsor is conceptually fixated on the duality which exists between the material world and the spiritual. He believes that he finds a cohesion between these two planes within his work.

MARKE MEYER – Sculptor

Marke is essentially a poet. Having abandoned the pen and paper in exchange for space itself, he now uses sculpture to create his how unique, quirky concoction of ‘visual poetry’.

According to Marke: “Figures fascinate me…especially the female figure. I prefer the nude figure as it is free of context allowing for an open-ended expression of abstract concepts and emotions. The figure, metaphoric in every sense, describes a state of mind, or more often the projection of ‘mind’ into a space removed…a mind-space perhaps. This is a comfortable, magical space without restraint or restriction. The human body, ether in frenetic movement or caught at rest, remains my only playground.”

Marke Meyer is a sculptor, photographer and a multi-media artist. He was born in Kokstad, spent his childhood in the mountains of Lesotho and matriculated from Westville Boy’s High School in 1981.

He studied for a BSc Agric. (Hort) and graduated in 1987.He then opened his own wholesale nursery business which he ran successfully for eighteen years.

During all these years he studied art privately with his passion being in all things figurative. Sculpture and photography became his tools to explore the human figure. Years ago, with his growing success as an artist, he was finally able to sell the horticultural business and set out on a career as a full time artist.

Marke Meyer’s work is available for sale in many South African galleries. His pieces have traveled abroad to North America, Central America, South America, United Kingdom, Europe, Israel, Poland, New Zealand and Australia.

MBONGENI FAKUDSE

Is a rapidly emerging mixed media fine artist born in Swaziland in 1982 and currently living and working in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He is greatly inspired by the identity of contemporary African women and the issues that surround them. He often depicts these women wearing headscarves which are a symbol of womanhood and power. He explores how society often values a contemporary African woman as a commodity. (For example, as money and power in the lobola system.)

Mbongeni’s expressive strokes, scrapes and splashes break down the face but on standing back they come together as a solid form. The woman is solid and non-solid; there and not there; complete and incomplete. The contemporary African woman is many things and nothing.

In 2005 he moved his studio to August House in Johannesburg where he met the late Benon Latuuya. Since then Benon has greatly influenced Mbongeni’s approach. Another great inspiration is German artist, Voka, with his spontaneous and expressive gestures.

After completing his schooling at Waterford Kamhlaba, Swaziland, Mbongeni went on to study Fine Arts through correspondence at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. He then attended the Tswhane University of Technology in Tswane (Pretoria) for Fine Arts. He also studied 3D animation and simultaneously worked for several years in 3D animation before becoming a full time artist in 2008.

RAMARUTHA MAKOBA

Ramarutha Makoba was born in Soweto in 1984 and brought up in Diepkloof. His talent surfaced from an early age when he began drawing his favorites cartoon characters. Much of his earlier works portrayed people and children in their normal surroundings. Ramarutha’s artworks are often large and expressive.

Recently trees have become a reoccurring theme. Ramarutha further explores themes of community and family relationships in his recognizable charcoal, pastel and acrylic drawings. In these drawings the grit of daily life is interspersed with brightly coloured trees and portraits of people from his community.

Makoba quotes Tyler Perry: “I have this tree analogy when I think of people in my life. It goes like this: Some people come into your life and they are like leaves on a tree. They are only there for a season. You can’t be angry at them, it’s just who they are. There are some people who come into your life and they are like branches on a tree… In most cases they can’t handle too much weight. But again, you can’t be mad with them, it’s just who they are. If you can find some people in your life who are like the roots of a tree then you have found something special…Their job is to hold you up, come what may, and to nourish you, feed you and water you.”

When out of the studio, Ramarutha dedicates much of his time giving back to his community. He sees his role as an educator and empowering the children he works with in helping them to see a future beyond their current situation. Lifting their blindfolds and opening their minds and eyes to what is possible.

Representing the family unit as a tree……Ramarutha says that if you nurture these children and their families, their roots will take hold and give them a future worth working towards.

Apart from painting and drawing, Ramarutha has also experimented with the art of screen-printing and etching.  He has attended workshops at The Johannesburg Art Gallery and completed a two year course at Fuba (Federated Union of Black Artists).

SOLOMON OMOGBOYE

Solomon Omogboye, a humble, contemporary impressionist painter was born in 1982 in Lagos. There he completed his early education followed by his attendance at Lagos State Polytechnic – studying HND Art and Industrial Design (Painting) in 2007. In the same year he was awarded AADS Best Artist of the year.

Solomon was introduced to drawing as a child due to his mother’s encouragement. After graduation, Solomon not only practised art from his home studio, but also worked extensively as an art instructor in secondary schools in Lagos.

In 2014 Solomon relocated to South Africa and worked as a full-time artist from his home studio as well as the Living Artists Emporium in Johannesburg.

Over the years, Solomon’s works have attracted local and international attention. He ranks amongst the leading young Nigerian artists.

His artworks are predominantly charcoal, pastel, acrylic and oil on canvas.

His paintings are a reflection of his thoughts, inspiration and ideas.

Solomon currently practices at August House studios in Johannesburg, South Africa.

SANUSI OLATUNJI

I am a Nigerian born artist based in South Africa. Forth born of the family. I was born 4th of Sept 1982 in a town called Ejigbo in Lagos Nigeria. Art is not really appreciated nor understood in this area. The passion and love I have for art made me pursue art as my career after I finished in high school. I studied General art and obtained Diploma in Art in the year 2006 at Yaba College of technology. I worked as a full time studio Artist for two years after I had my   industrial training at Universal Studio for one year. Late 2009 I decided to leave Nigeria to explore the world and pursue my dream. I became a member of the Association of art Pretoria and been practising art since then till present. I have been practicing art and exhibiting in Pretoria for 6 years.  Since 2015 I have been exploring Johannesburg. I work in deferent mediums but discovered my love in working in paper Collage since 2015 till present and already known for it.

Inspiration

As an artist, I found myself happiness, joy and life in art. I make the works of art that speaks to me and others. My Art is what comes from within me. The words l couldn’t speak out I express them through my art. The things that influences me in art are music, literature, history and nature. I explore the use of paper collage in my works as a form of recycling as well uniqueness. With the use of paper am able to capture impressions on human faces.  I am able to capture beauty in my art with the use of paper. I am able to differentiate light from shade with the use of paper.  I am able to capture human feelings with the use of paper. I am also able to capture seascape, landscape and skyline with the use of paper be it in the day or night. I use my art as a medium of healing the soul also as a medium of communicating to the world.

THOKOZANI MADONSELA

Over the years, my work has been most recognizable for its iconic nude, faceless, often laughing figures. This has been a bold statement I have used to depict neutrality in human identity.

Through these figures, one cannot tell what gender, economic status or age the people I represent are. This has allowed everyone who looks at my work to take it as personally as they see fit, seeing themselves through the experiences of the figures on the canvas.

This year, I have not veered far from my iconic figures. This body of work will tell everyday stories of people in the City we reside in. With the use of various accessories, I wish to depict lives from serval walks of life, with the emphasis that we are all visitors in the urban spaces we have grown to call home, that none of us really belong here.

In continuation with the use of my figures to represent the everyday human, I have introduced bold accessories to illuminate the stories and experiences they each have to share. Starting with the introduction of the high/bar stool, which is a graduation from the bench they usually sat on before. This is a slightly more comfortable seat yet still not necessarily a depiction of wealth or success.

It does however elevate my figures to a point of sight amongst others. The elevation could represent either a better financial standing and comfort or a higher social status, elevated enough to speak for others. Another remarkable addition is the t-shirts some of them have on. These are usually in the colours of our top three political parties. This is a jab at the role our politicians should be playing. The notion of t-shirts as political campaigning tools is age old even though its effectiveness is debatable.

These are used both as regalia for the campaigner themselves for visibility as well as bribery towards the poor. My figures wear these as a statement for what we are left with after these elaborately deceptive campaigns are over. One of my favorites is the juxtaposed use of the figures faces. First, I have been able to deliver complex messages through their facial expressions.

The explicit, wide mouthed laughter serving as mockery for any context served by either a fellow figure or the background of the work.

This is juxtaposed by the serious expressionless face that represent dissatisfaction and lack of pride in the context of the work. The second complex is represented by the hand covering the figure’s face juxtaposed by the figures wearing glasses.

The face covered figures would equate to the modern day use of the face palm emoji/emoticon which represents shame or the bold choice to dissociate with whatever context the work places the figure in, whereas the glasses stand for enlightenment, clear sightedness or even elitism. One last noteworthy accessory is the hearts my figures carry with them. 

This symbolizes emotion, humanness. It is to say these are people with lives and hearts that need gentle handling.

All of this said, my figures are representatives of stories we often should include in our small talk. On a regular day, waking up and fulfilling one’s purpose is the anticipated norm.

WIZ KUDOWOR

Wisdom Kudowor, popularly known as ‘Wiz’ is the “transcultural visionary” as described by art experts, was born in 1957 in Taqkoradi.

Wiz graduated with a first class honours degree in fine arts at the College of Art at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Kumasi in 1981. He now lives and works in his artist studio in Dzorwulu, Accra – Ghana.

Wiz Kudowor’s works depict Cubist & Futuristic shapes and designs in his paintings, but despite their modernism, the artworks of Wiz simultaneously rejuvenate traditional forms and aesthetics of Ghana’s cultural history. He uses ancient symbols and aesthetic elements derived from Ghana’s rich cultural heritage as an artistic tool to highlight space and structure colourful configurations on his canvasses.

Wiz works with a foam roller and a palette knife and creates strongly coloured and intense paintings which combine styles, themes and expressive patterns from different cultural backgrounds in a way which earned him the name ‘transcultural visionary’.

Wiz Kudowor has been exhibited in solo and group shows for almost 30 years in Africa, Europe, Asia and the U.S.

NYORNUWOFIA AGORSOR

“Never capture comfort and forget the laws. It’s the laws that maintain the comfort.”

My work dwells on these ideals. Whereas there is the tendency to seek the glory without the effort, I suggest that people should endeavor to do the opposite. I am interested in how to harness basic things in life and in our surroundings to create. This should mean that I very much engage contemporary concerns. We live in a time that everything is heavily dependent on technology. For this reason, there is the tendency for people to resort to short cuts. This is what I abhor. Whereas technology can help us to a certain extent, I also will not want technology to take away our culture and traditions. These are the universal values that give to us our humanity. It is a balance of these that I always seek. When I make paintings, I want all my reflections to have voice. I want my audiences to take up responsibilities, especially when they are in privileged positions. If we dwell too much on the comforts, we tend to become ingrates. We always take from the world and yet give nothing back. This is not healthy. It pushes our world out of symmetry. But in seeking symmetry, we also know that all the fingers are never the same. How then do we celebrate our differences as well as our similarities? How do we make this world the better place we want it to be even in our expressions?