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The South African Art Collective

The Department of Small Business Development will be supporting the participation of 20 visual artists at the FNB JoburgArtFair. The exhibition will be curated by Senzeni Marhasela and assisted by protégé curator, Zodwa Tunani from the Walter Sisulu University. Creative Feel spoke to two of the participating artists, Pauline Mazibuko and Ephia Mmbidi. The Department of Small Business Development (DBSD) has been participating in the FNB JoburgArtFair since 2011 and will once again be presenting a meticulously curated experience for visitors to the fair. The DSBD exhibition will be presented under the ‘South African Art Collective’ brand, which will feature artists who have been selected to represent a wide demographic, in particular, the upliftment of women and youth from the creative sector of South Africa. The South African Art Collective was launched in 2016 and has been the brand used to represent visual artists supported by the department at events both locally and internationally. The South African Art Collective recently presented a hugely successful four-city touring exhibition of the United States of America, showcasing works in Santa Fe, San Diego, Miami and New York. The exhibition featured artists Pauline Mazibuko and Ephia Mmidi were part of the tour.

Pauline Mazibuko

The tour also featured seasoned artists such as renowned artists Esther Mahlangu and Andrew TshabanguPauline Mazibuko says she has been an artist all her life. While training at Funda Community College, she traded in oil paints for tiny bits of magazine paper as she simply couldn’t afford it. And she hasn’t looked back, she now creates incredible, colourful collage works that celebrate women and children in South Africa, while acknowledging the hardships they face. There is a vibrancy and positivity in her works, despite the difficult subject matter her works often deal with. After completing her studies at Funda, Mazibuko specialised in printmaking at Artist Proof Studio (APS) for two years. She was awarded a bursary to study Art Teacher Training through Wits University and has worked at Sibikwa Community Centre and APS as a teacher. Her works have been exhibited worldwide and are held in various private collections. When Ephia Mmbidi’s father said she would be an artist, she laughed. Now, she couldn’t imagine being anything else. Her works, which make use of collage and paint on paper focus on portraying emotions of everyday people through a focus on facial expressions.

Ephia Mmbidi

‘My quest is to achieve more expressive art, where the idea of a drawing is pulled from its conventions and deconstructed into fragments of collage, colour, marks and exploration of colour and reduction of form create the centrality of a figure.’ Mmbidi studied Btech Fine Arts at the Vaal University and is in the process of completing her Master’s. She too works as a teacher as well as with the Valued Citizen Initiative, given a second chance to those who have committed minor offences. Both Mazibuko and Mmbidi express the difficulties they have found working as female artists in South Africa. From needing to work twice as hard to prove themselves, or being told that women’s work isn’t art but rather cleaning, cooking, sewing and gardening. In spite of this, and through the help of programmes such as the DBSD’s South African Art Collective, they are striving onward and creating artworks that South Africa can be proud of. 

The Department of Small Business Development will once again be supporting the participation of 20 visual artists at this year’s FNB JoburgArtFair. As a media partner to the fair, Creative Feel decided to find out more about the Department and about the woman in charge, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, MP. Read more in If you want the job done, give it to a woman.

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