Sepideh Mehraban is an Iranian-born artist, working and living in Cape Town. Her work explores memory and landscape, looking at the overlaying and veiling of paint as a means of expressing layers of existence and experience. She was born in Tehran and obtained her BA (2009) and MA (2011) from Alzahra University. In 2012, Mehraban worked on and was awarded a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art at Michaelis and has since also completed a second masters degree there. She has also worked as a set designer and collaborated on puppeteering projects. In her academic work, as well as in her personal projects there is sensitivity toward recent history in Iran, which she incorporates and explores through text, figurative works and abstraction, often drawing on the grid format of newspaper as a source of inspiration.
Loyiso Mkize is one of South Africa’s best known graphic novel and comic book illustrators, being one of the foremost contributors to the Sunday Times supplement SupaStrikers but turns to painting for creative expression and as an avenue for his personal, political and social commentary. The paintings often depict expressive faces, focusing his work in portraiture because of his fascination with skin, texture and the emotion that is conveyed through facial features – notions of the soul, the spirit and ultimately to illustrate his understandings of the true African experience in the contemporary art world. Mkize’s use of highly stylized and technically brilliant brushwork creates realistic imagery that leans toward the surreal with his decorative framing and imaginative illustration, adding multiple layers to each portrait with character references and the impression of self-awareness in each of his works.
Asanda Kupa is a rising talent amongst South African painters. He was born in Molteno, in the Eastern Cape and has always been drawn to the illustrative arts. He began his higher studies in 2005, furthering his studies in 2008 and also has worked closely with fellow painter and acclaimed artist, Aleta Michelatos. Kupa has won numerous awards, throughout his study period and after, winning the Reinhold Cassirer Award in 2013. His expressive mark making and abstraction of the human form creates a vivid and moving body of work that seems to explore change, progression and alteration through the language of narrative painting in a uniquely abstract manner. Kupa’s gestural works command a great presence in each space they can be found and his investment of time, energy and emotion as well as immense skill becomes apparent.
Jeannette Unite is a South African artist who works in a range of media, often utilizing minerals and by-products from the mining industry in her work, which takes as its major subject matter that industry and its historical and ecological legacy. Unite’s use of line and mark-making is visually intriguing, forcing the viewer to want to move around the work – forward and back to fully comprehend the work. Her works are haunting yet visually gorgeous, pushing ideas of materiality and texture in relation to her subject matter and to the medium of creating two-dimensional art.
Pauline Gütter, was born in 1980 and is known for her large-scale realist paintings as well as installation, printmaking and drawing. She obtained her B.A. Degree in Fine Arts (cum laude for painting) at the University of the Free State. Visually challenging and technically masterful, her work considers ideas of figuration and identity, often elaborately detailing each facet of expression of the subject in each work she makes. In 2013, Gütter was awarded the Absa L’atelier award for her painting and has also been listed on the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans award.
Restone Maambo was born in Zambia, in 1980. His work is about considering life experiences and the ways of artistically interpreting the world that surrounds him. His paintings often look back nostalgically to his childhood. Maambo was first interested in illustrations found in newspapers and comics at the age of 5. His passion for creativity and art lead him to move to Cape Town to study further and he was awarded numerous prizes whilst studying at Ruth Prowse. He graduated in 2008 and has since pursued his career, focusing on painting concerned with the human form and its presence in different environments.
Ronald Muchatuta is a Zimbabwean-born contemporary artist currently residing in Cape Town, who specializes in drawing, painting and mosaic. He began his career at the age of 16 as a pottery decorator at Ros Byrne Pottery in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2001. After being mentored at Gallery Delta in Harare and finishing his fine art exams through National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2003, he relocated to South Africa in 2007 to pursue a career as an artist. He is recognized as qualified Master Mosaic Artist at Spier Art Academy in Cape Town in which he undertook his studies from 2010-2012. His current body of work is inspired by the theme of migration in an African context. Previous artworks and special commissions are located in spaces of prestige around the globe. He has exhibited at the “African Art Fair 2015” Paris, France and The “UN–Milan Expo 2015 “representing Africa in Milan, Italy. Most recently in 2016 he has exhibited at the Gallery of the University of Stellenbosch including Michaelis Galleries at the University of Cape Town.
Born in Uganda, Benon Lutaaya is a Johannesburg-based visual artist. He holds a BFA with Education from Kyambogo University, Kampala. Although known for his contemporary paper collage portraiture work, he is equally adept dealing with other subjects and mediums. Unable to afford proper art supplies when he started out professionally in 2010, Benon improvised with recycled, found paper material gathered from streets to pursue his purpose as an artist. In 2011 he moved to South Africa courtesy of an international artist residency award by the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Johannesburg where he still holds a studio. Since then interest in his work has grown exponentially and he is recognised as one of the rising talents on the local art scene. Benon is a past winner of the Lovell Tranyr Art Trophy (2012), the Ithuba Arts Fund Grant (2011), and Finalist of the BBC MyWorld documentary global competition, London 2010.