Artists show off their work at the Civic Centre

Mayor Dan Plato with artist Neville Keith Matroos, as he explains the meaning behind his art.

Violence against women and the long-sounding echoes of apartheid’s forced removals are among the themes you’ll encounter at the Civic Centre, in an exhibition of work by rising talents in Cape Town’s art world.

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato opened the exhibition, which is part of a City programme promoting emerging artists, on Wednesday March 20 as part of Human Rights month celebrations. It’s on until Friday.

Mr Plato praised the pieces, some of which include recyclable materials.

Exhibition curator Alvin Castro is the creative director of non-profit Art Vibrations Inc II in Ocean View. The community is marking 50 years since apartheid forced removals in Simon’s Town and Noordhoek which saw those dispossessed communities settle in Ocean View.

Despite gang violence and shootings, the community had a lot to offer, he said.

“We have amazing artists coming from the community such as the late Peter Clarke and award-winning poet Gladys Thomas, who is now 86.”

The community’s artists were finally starting to get the recognition they deserved, he said.

“They are finally being seen and being celebrated as artists despite what apartheid took from them.”

Ganief Jaffer is originally from Simon’s Town but now lives in Ocean View. He exhibited pieces he had painted, using photographs he had taken in Saudi Arabia as a reference.

“I draw, design and do street art with spraying,” he said.

He had never been much good at academics at school but his teachers had noticed his artistic talent.

He said he was happy to be exhibiting because “I keep my stuff in my room where no one gets to see it”.

Reagan Rubain exhibited a collection of mosaic paintings.

He grew up poor with no father, and when he finished school, his mother couldn’t afford university.

“I worked here and there until I was introduced to mosaic art. I was looking for work one day and came across the Spier Academy of Arts in Commercial Street, and I went on an intensive three-year mosaic course.”

He gets his materials from people’s backyards and picks up nice tiles when he sees them in the street.

“It’s a lot of labour and it’s time consuming, but the end result is beautiful.”

Peter Clarke, he said, was one of his biggest influences. He recalled how the Ocean View artist had told him stories of his struggles during apartheid.

“Through my work, I want to continue that legacy. It was hard for them, so my art is a way to honour them. It’s a very special time for us.”

Neville Keith Matroos, who is originally
from Bellville, uses recyclable material to
create his art. One of his pieces, a sculpture of a woman with guns in her head and body, represents the distress of women who endure daily violence.

“I’ve been an artist since I was born but never had an opportunity to show my work,” he said. “My art here today represents our state of affairs as a country going forward.”

The emerging artist programme which is managed by the City’s arts and culture department will run seven exhibitions until June this year. Each will open at the South African Sendinggestig Museum as part of First Thursdays. They will remain at the museum for a week after the opening and move to a different location for the rest of the month.