Despite the negative connotations that the words ‘coloured identity’ conjure, the artists exhibiting at Eclectica have chosen to celebrate this culture with the hope of creating a positive awareness of its diversity. This exhibition hopes to contribute and reinforce positivity towards change in our coloured community.
We wish to highlight the rich contributions of coloured people, both culturally and politically. The contributions to culture have been diverse and unique across language, music, theatre, literature, the arts and food! Politically, and especially in the Western and Eastern Cape, the legacy is long and impactful with many heroes, luminaries, leaders and movements. ‘Coloureds’ have and continue to make, an enormous contribution to South Africa.
Even though the aim of this exhibition is to celebrate ‘coloured’ identity we should not forget the systematic way in which ‘coloured’ people in South Africa, especially in Cape Town and its outskirts, remain marginalized. Their shared sentiment seems to be a feeling of imprisonment in a cycle of invisibility and exclusion. A concern often expressed is, “Wat van ons?” – which talks about exclusion from opportunities, be it economic, social or political. The outcry amongst ‘coloured’ people in the townships is that they have been forgotten.
Do we want to be defined?
How important is this definition in a South African context?
Opening a dialogue can act as a catalyst in understanding our identity and can simultaneously provide a means of healing. We need to openly speak about the impact of our slave history, our imposed identity, our struggle founded within the cruel and oppressive Apartheid state and the consequences of social and economic injustices our current democratic state has inherited. Understanding the past, how it links to the present, and lived experiences, should create deeper insight into the community and identity of ‘coloureds’ and deeper insight into their fears, hopes and dreams.
Embracing the ‘coloured’ identity is not easy. ‘Coloured’ people have been stereotyped as uneducated, lacking in heritage; as drunks, gangsters and “tik koppe”. As a result of an oppressive system, we are met with social ultimatums that require us to either accept or reject an oppressive consciousness in order to attain some socio-economic benefits and/or higher social status. Our choices throughout recent and colonial South African history, has been either to align ourselves with the dominant white race, assimilate into it, or fight against it.
Many in our ‘coloured’ community lack a sense of origin. This can be destabilizing because it creates a deep unsettling emotion of not belonging, of not being part of anything, of having “no culture or heritage”. It is often aggravated by our lack of knowledge of where we come from. Most of our elders refuse to talk about the past, either simply because they don’t know, or they were embarrassed or traumatized by their slave history. Instead, European ancestry is celebrated. Additionally so are other more place-able heritages, whether from India or elsewhere in the East. Ironically, racism and orientalism manifested in ‘coloured’ communities, using the same hierarchy that promotes whiteness, white culture and the West as superior.
When we look back on history that extends outside of race and class, it is evident that there needs to be a disruption in the oppressive cycles for further liberation to occur. The stories told, the songs sang need to be brought to the forefront. It is within the creativity of our ‘coloured’ communities that many of them have found refuge and have managed to create aspirations for a better future. Many eras have passed, each of them imposing their own context onto an entire nation. Yet, we have reached a time, where there is necessity in not only celebrating who we are and our diversity, but to speak up against new forms of oppression and systematic control.
Dion Cupido was born in 1973 and prides himself on creating stunning artworks as a largely self-trained artist. His paintings work within a language that speaks both to classical portraiture and street art, blending symbols and mixing dialects to create emotive works that appeal to many. In 1998, he started exhibiting at the Pea-Nut Gallery. In 2003, he joined the Arts & Media Access Centre’s (AMAC) professional development program, where he won the Truworths AMAC Academy of the Visual Arts award.
In recent years, he has produced a consistent body of abstract work. Initially it consisted of urban escapes through the front window of his car and most recently he discovered African-Pop portraiture using industrial ink as painting medium. Dion discovered his ability to paint by accident, when he helped a friend with a school project. Cupido has a studio space at Good Hope Art Studios in Cape Town, South Africa.
“We’re more than just minstrels, gatsbies, cabana juice, crime, drugs and Gangsterism. The way the media portrays coloured people is robbing us of our real identity.
We, as artists and musicians, are here to tell the real stories. I’m here to celebrate being a black South African
I was told once that being coloured, we have no culture and we’re not black. This perception is exactly what the old apartheid government wanted us to think to divide us as humans / South Africans.
I am black, coloured is my culture just as my other black brothers and sisters are Zulu or Xhosa. Apartheid perfectly divided us and we can’t keep thinking this way. We are united, we are all black, we need to see that.”
Chelsea Robin Ingham
Chelsea Robin Ingham was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. She obtained her Bachelors of Visual Arts in Fine Art in 2017 from Stellenbosch University and is currently completing her postgrad in Visual Arts as a Masters candidate in Art Education at Stellenbosch University. As a visual artist, Chelsea is particularly drawn to the medium of printmaking (and photography) as an extension of drawing, in poetically visualising narratives, ascribing it to be a symbolic act. For this reason, she is fascinated with the philosophy of phenomenology – how people experience something or think about something and by creating meaning construct their realities based on perception. Therefore, phenomenology through the visual arts is an important framework in her practice.
Chelsea’s work explores the formative role of culture and language (as critique and possibility) through the visual text and the unique aesthetic expression art gives to factors that are basic to perception and what it is able to achieve cognitively. Through her practice she attempts to challenge equally the erasure and reification of identity formations and knowledge production, by re-representation and dialogue through the visual art experience, foregrounding its often overlooked educational capacity. She believes only through praxis can we hope to encourage new perspectives.
Kayman Herd presents ‘Oppie Flets’ (On the Cape Flats) an in-depth body of work highlighting the plight of those living in marginalized communities on the Cape Flats. From grassroots to the gallery, this engaging collection exposes the harsh realities those living in these communities face on a daily basis. Kayman Herd is able to engage firsthand with life, in what is considered to be, one of the most notorious communities on the Cape Flats namely Hanover Park. From the borderline position where gang warfare, drug abuse and other social ills are rampant. Kayman is able to observe, document and transpose a wealth of gritty material into conversational pieces.
The Kayman Herd methodology uses the dynamic of ‘real’ situations and experiences underpinned with Cape Flats slang and pertinent information. Besides commenting on the Cape Flats life, Kayman wants people elsewhere to ‘see’ what is happening out there. This is an international phenomenon in inner cities worldwide e.g London, New York, Los Angeles, etc. just to name a few. Headlines and statistics are not enough. Through visual art, Kayman offers an ideal platform for people to engage the Cape Flats urban narrative. The launch of the SAPS’ Anti-Gang Unit in Hanover Park put the artist’s thoughts and strategy into perspective. Kayman’s intention is to address a very real issue which has been put into motion.
Warren Maroon (b.1985) lives and works as an artist in Cape Town, South Africa. Warren grew up on the Cape Flats in a suburb called Mitchell’s Plain, an area most commonly associated with gangsterism, drugs and violence. Being exposed to some harsh realities at an early age, Warren took to art as a way to escape.
In 2011, he graduated from Ruth Prowse with a Diploma in Fine Art but it was only in 2018 that he found his voice as a sculptor. Warren, inspired by a somewhat Arte Povera aesthetic, creates work using mostly found objects to communicate aspects of his lived experience.
My name isn’t K-Juizy
It’s actually Kirstin Warries
I’m from Bellville South
Where the mense buy kwaai takkies
And they yak branded gap
Even all the small laaities.
Mense skit and dance to Youngsta and Kendrick
See, Hip-Hop is a style that I see everyday.
I also hear it in the streets
From houses all the way from my house
2 blocks from the source of music.
If it’s not loud bra you ain’t doing it properly.
But I ain’t hear female rappers in my city
Patty Monroe, Dope Saint Jude,
Are foreign to the South.
These Women from the city want to make it in the industry
But brasse wys them sousies,
Because they all have titties.
Slavery’s still here in a form not so clear;
Women bounded by stereotypes and privileges of men.
We all want a chance to do what we feel.
There’s too many injustices
that need to be confronted right here.
I make art about women who deserve chances that are fair.
If you don’t like my art
Just leave it right there.
Faatimah Mohamed-Luke is a 37 year old artist and designer who lives in Cape Townwith her 2 cats, the husband and kid. In 2003, she graduated from Cape Technikon with ND: Fashion and also did a year of design encompassing Graphic, Interior, Industrial, Textile and Jewellery design disciplines. Faatimah is a founding partner of SA designer brand adam&eve. Three years ago, she resigned from fashion to focus on Art and Interior design. Her current focus is creating large-scale wall art made of plastic building blocks. She has had great success exhibiting at galleries and art fairs within South Africa and abroad.
“While on holiday in Morocco, 5 years ago, I fell in love with ornate, intricate patterns. It was everywhere, every surface was painstakingly adorned to perfection. I loved how much pride the locals took in creating such beauty, it spoke to different parts of my heritage; African and Arab. It was the first time I had witnessed parts of my heritage living together so gracefully. This is where I discovered the art of Tessellation i.e. a highly symmetric, edge-to-edge tiling using a simple porcelain shape. My hope is to highlight and recreate the art form of tessellation in a modern way using plastic building blocks. My favourite thing about about this medium is it being non-traditional. It allows for conversations about what art is, and what it could be. This allows for a playfulness and accessibility within the artwork and also within the art-world. It is something that is relatable to a broader audience. The works create a feeling of nostalgia and relevance, and is appreciated by all ages and backgrounds.
As with many creative people my journey into the arts began at home with a free-spirited mother and a father who flourished in order and structure with a background in traditional carpentry. I learned early on that structure and knowing your tools would allow the freedom to create with confidence and a willingness to keep searching. Even though I have a strong background in art and design, it has never made me stop evolving in my quest to create a unique creative aesthetic.
My artwork incorporates an expressive abstract style with the aim of visually translating personal and societal behaviour and connection. I enjoy creating work that is considered, encompassing many interesting details rather than a single focal point. Thus far I have explored this style through a variety of media with a current focus of spray paint, acrylic paint and liners.
ELEMENTS AND COMPOUNDS SERIES:
An element is a substance made up of a single component, while a compound contains at least two elements. This series of work explores the struggle we all face for individuality and the enhancement we go through being part of a bigger group or ideology. This series, as related to a human being, has created an organic network of line and shape within an emotive appearance. This expression of self discovery and re-discovery is emphasised as we transform ourselves within different interactions.
20SK8 Collaboration: Gen-trick-fication
With all the gentrification taking place in Western Cape, Cape Town as part of urban street culture community we experience every corner of communities in search of spaces to implement our art. We experience both the negative and positive changes that it brings to one’s community.
20SK8 has collaborated with 18 of Cape Town’s finest artist by giving them our blank skateboards for them to do an illustration of what gentrification means to them.
Featuring: Aj / Anda / April / Bobd / Ford Breez / Kyle Kallas / Juju / Aweh Migo / CrazyJap / Fok Alles / Nacho Arts / PaperPlanez / Shala / Plan B Rob / Tyler / Toothless Coon / Max
For activist artist Gary Frier, creating art is a space of constant self-reflection of positionality within the world we live in. Inspiration from various forms of media have catapulted him to this discovery of distilling and interpreting his own interactions to his surroundings, resulting in a manifestation of this relationship through visual art. Frier has exhibited extensively: from the Design Indaba to the Artscape and throughout local galleries, making a difference as much as he can through exhibitions such as 2006 P O S I + I V E “HOPE” Art Exhibition from which proceeds from this watershed event donated to the Tapologo Aids Hospice, which is performing an invaluable service in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The concept behind this painting is part of Frier’s exploration through portraits, where he looks at consciousness and physical place – specifically nature. He attempts to bridge what he calls the brittle connection between us and the “wild”. Focusing on the replacement of physical and spiritual presence by the financial value system, the artist creates a dialogue between the subject and their environment. In this work he took a section of a Pierneef landscape painting and super imposed a Khoi woman into the landscape as a comment on colonist tradition in “old masters”, and the furthering dispossession of culture and land.
Danielle Zelna Alexander
Danielle Alexander is a young, Cape Town based artist and graduate of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. She majored in Painting and Visual and Art History which is notable in some of the art historical references and characteristics seen in her oil paintings with specific inspiration being drawn from Neoclassism and Baroque imagery. She uses images of linen found in her personal domestic spaces as her subject matter using the creases and folds of the drapery in place of body to communicate emotions of tension, passivity or drama.
She is also concerned with mundane objects, subject matter and materiality often putting those elements in conversation with one another to heighten their assumed value. She often works with alternative media such as Crete stone, polyfilla and plaster to create textured paintings but again comments on notions of the seen and unseen through the use of materials usually associated with hiding or fixing cracks or faults. By using them as her primary materials she brings them to the forefront both conceptually and aesthetically, hereby changing their value and meaning.
She aims to create a mood through a focus on texture rather than colour, reducing a painting to its basic elements to expose its raw essence. It is focussed even in its abstraction creating a moment of reflection, a pause. Through this she explores the concept of being “fixed” in stone in relation to notions of positionality and identity.
Tyrone Appollis is a South African artist and poet. He was active in the formation of the Mitchell’s Plain Art Group in 1988. He has held numerous local and international art exhibitions. A professional artist since the late 1970s, Tyrone Appollis works from the conviction that “an artist must be of his time”. Born in Cape Town in 1957, Appollis studied art part-time at the Community Arts Project under Cecil Skotnes and at the Foundation School of Art in Observatory.
Tyrone Appollis’s art is rooted in his geographic identity as a Capetonian, in his historic identity as a “coloured” person, in his post-apartheid national identity as a South African, in his non- racial identity as an African, and in his humanistic identity as a member of a global community of artists. Appollis’s work is represented in several public and private collections in South Africa and abroad.