Local Talent in the Mix

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Local Talent in the Mix

Empangeni Museum is showcasing local talent at its mixed media exhibition until September 2013. The colourful and thought provoking selection is curated by Mandla Patrick Mlotshwa, creative and visual arts lecturer at University of Zululand. The collection features works by Sihle Biyela, Xolani Qwabe, David Tembe and Mlotshwa.

Mlotshwa said the mixed media exhibition will showcase an eclectic mix of pastel, charcoal, water and oil paintings, pencil sketches and sculpture by artists Andries Botha, Dina Cormick, Dennis Purvis, Gert Swart, Bafana Mkhize, amongst other works from the Empangeni Museums collection. The exhibiting artists have an expressionistic approach to the use of colour, similarities can be drawn between their work and that of French artist, Henri Matisse.

Mlotshwa’s work, inspired by social issues, is rendered in an abstract way. He said: “The idea is to encourage dialogue; I want people visiting the exhibition to leave with a thought in mind. The artwork creates dissonance, compelling the audience to confront our present day social issues like poverty, unemployment, the HIV epidemic and general hopelessness. I want to counteract that through art and expressionism. My work captures the mood and feel, creative spirit and encourages the audience to confront their own fears and limitations. Art has the power to create social cohesion and healing and can be extremely destructive. It is a powerful medium that can be used to resonate with various hidden and blatant messages.

“This exhibition is focused on establishing a platform for the unexposed, hidden and raw talent and building a long term creative community development project. I am hopeful that in partnership with local artists, the region will see a series of exhibitions and growing interest in art and self-expression. Beyond merely creating awareness, I want to simultaneously hone and develop artistic creativity by highlighting role of art in societal development.”

More about the artists…

Mlotshwa qualified cum laude with his Masters in Fine Art from Illinois State University, he also holds a BA in Fine Arts from University of KwaZulu-Natal. Upon his return to South Africa in 2006, he worked on several community development projects, in art, at the Madadeni Township in New Castle.


After graduating with his BA he worked as mentor at Ezakheni College of Education, the Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA) and Transkei College. Mlotshwa’s passion lies in converting common spaces into public galleries to showcase art on a daily basis. His masters’ research focused on Space, Form and Everyday Narratives.

Qwabe is a Durban University of Technology Fine Art graduate, his selection on display is a combination of street traders and localising iconic figures whilst depicting them in a different milieu. Biyela is a practising artist who studied at Rhodes University, his work can be best descried as portraiture in context and local artist Tembe’s landscapes draws inspiration from his surroundings.