Art for all

A city centre art project will focus on different themes to give budding artists a chance to express themselves and promote their art.

Jason Fisher, a young artist who had no way to showcase his work, was able to sell his first painting thanks to the project by community worker, Gloria Veale-Oliver.

The project saw a space open up inside the Taj Hotel where young people from all over could showcase their artwork, while Ms Veale-Oliver helped get their work onto the market.

The focus for the gallery until July 25 is youth, and Ms Veale-Oliver wants to get as many young artists exposed as she can.

She said the idea was to give children who never had the opportunity to showcase their work a space to do so, and at the same time give them a way to express themselves.

“I wanted something like this to draw communities together, and what better way than through art. We want to focus on those who have never had exposure. Children sometimes express themselves through talent, such as singing, dancing and art, because sometimes they cant speak about what they are going through, so we want to give them a voice too. We are just looking for channels for them to express themselves.”

“The future of South Africa belongs to the youth. I want young people to make an impact on one another.”

She said she had approached many places for a free space and was grateful when the Taj gave her one.

For now, they are showcasing art, but the idea is to incorporate dancing and singing as well, to eventually create an art academy, and eventually have children take their ideas and skills back to their communities, take the streets back, and fill it with dancing and singing. The art is exhibited in two room at the hotel on the walls of a dining space.

Ms Veale-Oliver said there is a variation of art from youth with different stories and backgrounds.

She said Jason, who had no confidence in his work, did a Mandela painting, which was the first one to be sold at the Taj.

Jason, who grew up in Bonteheuwel, but now lives in Salt River, said he started painting at a young age.

“I dropped out of school in Grade 10 and attended Sibongile art school in Gugulethu. I did three years and passed with flying colours, but didn’t get much further.

“I am now a call centre manager but I do art on the side.”

He said as an artist in South Africa, it is difficult to start out.

“It’s a tight situation, that’s why artists explore other ways to make money.”

He said a lot of his art is sci-fi and fantasy and surrealism, but as he grew, he started working on more impactful things.

“The painting that sold at the Taj is one of Mandela. Mandela identifies with South Africa and the struggle we went through to get where we are today.

Jason said: “I was then approached by Gloria and we spoke about exhibiting my work at the art academy. My painting was the first one to be sold.”

He said as an artist, you have to draw attention to yourself and the art academy is a fantastic idea.

“People need to start realising that art is a much bigger part
of our lives than we make it
out to be, and it is important because our youth are not afraid to share their thoughts and opinions.”

Jason said he thinks the art academy is well placed in the city, because it’s central and in the artistic hub.

However, there are many distractions, and artists need serenity, but he said no matter where the space is, art will happen.

Matthias Lung, from Muizenberg, currently has six paintings up in the exhibition space. “I think it’s amazing that Gloria is doing this. She’s inspiring children.”

He said projects like these also help people accept themselves. “Being an artist is hard and it sometimes feels impossible to get your work off the ground.”

Matthias said he has been interested in art from a young age, and was inspired by his mother.

“I did art at school and won lots of awards. By matric, I started developing my own style.”

He said his pieces consist of multi-perspective and fragmented pieces.

“It shows that things aren’t always black and white.”

He said the city centre is a good place for young people to showcase their work as it is busy, and there is more people paying attention to the work in the gallery.

Anyone who would like their work showcased in the gallery can contact Ms Veale-Oliver and tell her a bit more about their work. Space is limited.

She said they want to focus on youth from ages 12 to 35.

In August, which marks Women’s Month, the focus will change to women.

“We will change themes all the time,” she said.

For details, email gloria@apolocityconnect.co.za