Local artists break barriers

2019-06-06 06:00
Fugly Art Gallery owners Yolanda Sihlali and Nwabisa Nkonyana from Khayelitsha.PHOTOs: siyabonga kalipa

Fugly Art Gallery owners Yolanda Sihlali and Nwabisa Nkonyana from Khayelitsha.PHOTOs: siyabonga kalipa

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Two young passionate artists from Khayelitsha have started an art gallery, a first of its kind for the township.

Friends Yolanda Sihlali (25) and Nwabisa Nkonyana (25) started Fugly Art Gallery, in Town 2, in December last year to change the way the community sees arts.

However, their biggest challenge is attracting buyers.

Sihlali obtained a Diploma in Film making from City Varsity in 2014 while Nkonyana obtained her BTech degree in Fine Art from the Walter Sisulu University of Technology and Science in 2016.

Sihlali says the idea of starting up the gallery came to them last year.

“My partner was looking for a black- owned art gallery in the township but could not find one when we met and we decided to start our own,” she says.

They looked for a space to start a gallery and were fortunate when her father offered them his old business premises.

“We launched the gallery in December last year and we have not looked back,” says Sihlali.

She does mostly beadwork in the gallery which is something she was taught by her grandmother when she was growing up.

Sihlali says they want to change the way the community thinks about galleries because they think you can only find it in town so it’s not normal for it to be in townships.

Nkonyana says at their gallery, they exhibit artworks such as drawings, paintings, ceramics, printmaking, insulation, mixed medium and only put up exhibitions for one to two weeks for local artists. They also host fine art and beadwork “experiences” to those that are interested.

She says artists bring their biographies before they are chosen to bring their collections for exhibitions. “How we make money we take 20% of whatever sale on an artist’s work and they go away with 80%,” she said.

However, Nkonyana says their biggest challenge is getting buyers so both the gallery and the artists can make money.

“They also need more equipment to up the standard of the gallery. “We want to see the gallery as one of the biggest in Cape Town and even the country,” says Nkonyana.

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