WATCH: An artist worth his salt

2016-09-07 13:03
Percy Maimela. (Screen Grab)

Percy Maimela. (Screen Grab)

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Pretoria - The discovery of spilled salt in the storeroom of a shop gave birth to an art form that has brought fame for a Pretoria artist.

“I was working as a merchandiser at a retail outlet. One day I walked into the storeroom and I was bored as hell,” Percy Maimela says.

"I saw salt on the ground and I had an idea.”

He was determined not to let a lack of materials like pencil and paper, or brushes and paint, stop him. Using salt and the ground is like using pencil on paper, he says.

“If you give me black ash, or call me to the moon without my pencil, I will use whatever I find to make it work.”

He realised in primary school that he was more skilled at art than his classmates.

“I remember in Grade 3, my drawing was more advanced than my classmates’. When they would draw a one-dimensional picture, I would draw a two-dimensional one. I kept practising until I reached a certain level and now I have to push myself to another level,” Maimela says.

Since he first discovered “ground art” two years ago, he has had many requests, from individuals and companies, to demonstrate his talent.  

He did a portrait of anti-apartheid activist Lilian Ngoyi for News24. It took him about 30 minutes. He found a picture on the internet and started by sprinkling salt to create the eye.

Some of his portraits take 15 minutes, others over three hours.

Art allows him to see the world through God’s eyes.

“For me, art opens up my eyes and imagination regarding the beauty that exists in life and also provokes my emotions,” he says.

Maimela plans to travel the world to teach people to make a living creating art.

“I want to open my own gallery and teach people how to make a living out of art, rather than relying on the old methods where we go to school, become workers, retire, and die. I left my job to pursue art and enjoy my life,” he says.

Read more on:    pretoria

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