BOLD, vibrant and colourful . . . with its roots in traditional culture.The striking creation of Jeffreys Bay artist, Tania Thandeka (42), is among the top 40 artworks in the prestigious Sanlam Portrait Award competition – currently on display in Cape Town. Portraying local Jeffreys Bay resident, Moliehi, her work in acrylic and oil paint - titled The Awaited One - was named as one of 40 finalists out of more than 700 entries from across South Africa. Moliehi, a Basotho-name, translates to The Awaited One – thus the name of the portrait. “It is a huge honour to feature among the top 40 finalists. As an upcoming artist, I could not have asked for better exposure,” says Thandeka who studied at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in Woodstock. “More residents and art lovers will now be able to see my work.”Inspired by traditional African culture – San, Xhosa and Basotho – and using mixed media such as acrylic, oil paint and charcoal, Thandeka describes her work as realism mixed with a healthy dose of abstract created by impressionistic brush strokes.All with one aim: to preserve ancient culture and its beautiful traditions.Her role models? Prominent Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, Delft artist Jan Vermeer and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo who is known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico.Thandeka, a single mother of seven children, was inspired from a young age by her artistic mom to draw and paint.Years later she painted pictures on rocks - when she could not afford canvas - and sold them at local markets. In 2000, two of her canvas paintings were exhibited at the Strydom Gallery in George – a first for her.The top 40 portraits will be on display at Rust-en-Vrede Gallery from now until October 23. The portraits will furthermore be published in a catalogue.For more information about Thandeka’s work, visit her at Peter’s Art Gallery at Equinox Mall or contact her at 062 842 1251.