August House and Ellis House in Johannesburg is opening its gallery to the public on Sunday – an opportunity for the artists to interact and showcase their artwork to the audience.
The public will be able to interact with almost 70 artists from different countries at different stages of their careers.
This is significant as the month of May is recognised as Africa Month which commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.
August House is located at 76 End Street, Doornfontein, while Ellis House is located at 23 Voorhout St, Bertrams.
The event is free and open to all members of the public who will be able to explore the visual arts and hear directly from the artists themselves.
Both spaces will be offering public programmes that will run throughout the day.
Tickets can either be pre-bought or bought on the day. Tickets will be sold using a card-only system.
Some of the artists that will be showcasing their artwork spoke to SABC News about their art.
Semi Lubisi, one of the artists that will be found in studio 2A on the second floor, says his works are characterised by a dominance of township ambiance. He draws his inspiration from the day-to-day lives of ordinary township people.
“My works are characterized by a dominance of township ambiance which reflects my connection to my neighborhood. I draw inspiration from the day-to-day lives of the ordinary people in the township and I make use of charcoal, watercolors, and acrylics to convey the stories and experiences. I try to bring some awareness to the social issues affecting communities in the township and invite the audience to experience & explore the feelings.“ – Semi Lubisi
Another unique artist Hiten Bawa who is also an architect and Accessibility Consultant based in Johannesburg is a profoundly deaf person with bilateral cochlear implants.
Bawa works primarily with acrylic paints, watercolours and inks to express his cultural identity and perspectives of people with disabilities.
Cassius Khumalo’s artwork ventures into studies of multidimensionality and spirit realm with multiple interpretations.
“Venturing into studies of multidimensionality and spirit and its universality with multiple interpretations defines how human beings mould their own world on a minute to minute basis. We mould ourselves with that which we believe in the most, we are forever on a quest to understand the spiritual realm,” says Cassius Khumalo.
Another artist that spoke to us is Siyabonga. He identifies his style as Khanda-Art Superblur African Synthetic Cubism. He explains this as the process of creating something from scratch.
“The style entertains the viewer with beauty and desire that the eye cannot see but only the heart can feel. The development of Khanda-Art can be found in the definition of Khanda. This term is of Nguni-origin. It can be understood as the process of creating something from scratch. More specifically, the process of moulding and development to create something of intrinsic value. This art movement is the child of a universe whose roots have a stronghold in (South) Africa. The aim and desire of Khanda-Art, specifically, is to entertain the viewer with the beauty that encourages your imagination to flow and push boundaries beyond your wildest expectations.”
Siyabonga uses, what he identifies as, the basic and fundamental elements of life.
These can be understood as lines, shapes, colour, and texture. The focus on lines in Siyabonga’s work is emphasized because he believes that these are “like veins that give life to the artwork”.
Furthermore, lines depict motion around his colourful characters and connect one to another. This then symbolizes the concepts of unity, respect, and above all love. Positivity is a recurrent and central theme in Siyabonga’s collection of works.
Because of COVID-19 regulations access will be refused to anyone not wearing a mask or members of the public not adhering to social distancing obligations.
Guests are encouraged to park at Access City (5 Beacon St, New Doornfontein, Johannesburg) or at Ellis House (the parking is diagonally opposite the main entrance) and make use of the shuttle service that will run between the two studios.
The parking and the shuttle service are free. Shuttles will depart every 30 minutes starting from 11 am.