Artist looks back fondly on his ‘Echo’ Craft Bazaar days

2019-04-24 06:01
PHOTO: suppliedMichael Mbatha with some of his wire and metal creations.

PHOTO: suppliedMichael Mbatha with some of his wire and metal creations.

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GROWING up, Michael Mbatha’s hobby was creating cars using wire and cardboard. Little did he know that one day his work would be recognised throughout South Africa and even overseas, and it was the Echo Craft Bazaar that put the artist on the map.

Mbatha, who hails from Camperdown, says his craft success is all thanks to the Echo Craft Bazaar and Tatham Art Gallery.

Speaking to Echo, he said at first he created cars with wire and he would cover them with cardboard, but that started to become a problem when it rained because the cars would get damaged. He then started to use metal.

“That was how it all began. I did this for fun because I enjoyed it.

“At that stage, I used to keep the cars at home because I did not know what to do with them; that is until I went to the Tatham Art Gallery and showed them my work — they loved it and they were the first to buy one of my cars.

“After that Echo introduced the Echo Craft Bazaar in 1995, where they would invite artists and craftsmen to come and showcase their creations and people would buy the products,” he said.

Mbatha said he became a part of this exhibition until it closed a few a years ago.

Tourists that he met at the exhibition invited him to facilitate workshops in other provinces and, in 2004, Mbatha found himself conducting a workshop in Australia.

“The Echo Craft Bazaar gave me a great opportunity to show my work.

“I reached a lot of people because tourists from other provinces also attended. It was a great platform for up-and-coming talented artists like us,” said Mbatha.

Mbatha said his dream is to continue to share his skills and talent with other people, especially the youth and children.

He said he will be hosting a workshop at Draadkar Festival in Northern Cape in August where he will teach people about his craft.

“I am so excited because it will be the first time hosting a workshop at this festival even though I have attended it before. I want to give back to the community,” he ended.

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