Soraya Sheppard’s passion and love for the visual arts and her birth country inspired her to establish Color Me Africa Fine Art in 2012. Her goal: to sponsor, celebrate and recognize talented African artists across the Diaspora. Sheppard, 25 years after fleeing South Africa’s apartheid regime, decided it was time to face her past and give something back to the country she loves.
While checking out the art scene, Sheppard stumbled upon a treasure trove of art by South Africans at a small exhibit in Johannesburg. The art was striking, reflecting the pain and strife so many South Africans felt during the oppressive apartheid regime. An artist at the exhibition told her how black artists struggled there. Sheppard was inspired to act, resolving to help tell the unique stories of artists so often lost or unrecorded.
Color Me Africa’s mission is to bring the vibrant fine art and culture of South Africa to the rest of the world. Due to exploitation, many artists are not fairly compensated for their work, which art dealers sell for high prices in the open market. Sheppard is committed to helping African artists connect with their audience to build a reputation and a following. Through professionally curated exhibitions and events, Color Me Africa seeks to promote cultural awareness and provide artists opportunities to earn a fair price for their brilliant work.
What We Need & What You Get
Plans for 2014-2015
This year we plan on having 3 exhibitions (featuring several up-and-coming African artists). We hope you will be able to attend--if not, we are offering wonderful rewards for your donation.
Your Contribution Will Help Fund:
Our starting budget is $25,000. This includes: staff, equipment, art supplies, basic utilities, insurance, panels, materials for exhibitions and shipment of the art. Our end goal is to seek grants from art foundations that will enable us to open a permanent gallery where our artist’s paintings can be viewed on a daily basis.
Who We’ll Help
At this time, we highlight mostly South African artists, but intend to eventually feature artists from other African countries. By giving them access to a global community, they learn how to be art entrepreneurs who not only uplift their own lives but positively impact others in the community. A community is only as powerful as its members. Empower and educate them and watch the community flourish.
Bongi Bengu was born in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, and grew up in exile in Geneva, Switzerland, where she attended high school and later at Waterford Kamhlaba in Swaziland. As a student in Swaziland, she received a distinction for a research project, which included interviewing established and major artists; who later became her colleagues at The Bag Factory Studios in Newtown, Johannesburg. This exposure to the art world was an eye-opening experience that inspired her at a young age to become an artist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Vernon College, in Washington, DC, and earned a Master's in Fine Arts from The University of Cape Town. She has since participated in numerous international residencies and workshops.
Xp Art Matshikiza
Xolelani Pat Matshikiza was born in Cape Town, South Africa, where he attended classes at Cape College studying visual art. He was also tutored privately and spent time on a farm drawing and painting with the well-known South African artist Gavin Collins. In 2006, he took part in a six-month visiting resident program at Greatmore Studios followed by a three-month stay in Germany, where he taught art at a private school in Stendal "Private Grundschule Altmark."
As an artist, he is inspired by everyday life, hardship, music and history of old houses, places and people from different cultures. His creations reflect how he looks at things, be it in detail or more in general from all possible angles. His work is steeped in contradiction and deeper meaning. He uses different media, like oil on canvas and found objects, to create sculptures and paintings. He uses various techniques and styles: figurative painting, series of old buildings, portraits, abstract work and ceramics. The ideas on which he bases his work are always appealing. Despite the dark view of the world we have to face, there is always a sight of anger, love, happiness and life in his work.
’Jabu’s art is unique, vibrant with a twist of both urban and contemporary touch. He captures diverse appeal from his abstract work to artwork inspired by elements and tapestry from South African background as this is his origin. However, his work is inspired by other experiences outside of his origin. He combines timeless materials such as maple wood, aluminum, and glass that add to the value of his creations. This has created a growing demand for his signature style and Afrocentric Contemporary Perspective collection.
Ndabuko Julukani Mabhele Andries Ntuli was born on July 1, 1975, in the mountains of Enkandla KwaZulu Natal. He was raised by loving parents, his mother Sbongile Climantine Ngcongo and father Thembuyise Maqeleni Mbuzimbelwe Ntuli, along with his six siblings. Ndabuko was groomed for his artistic journey at an early age surrounded by Zulu dance, singing, playing and poetry. Reciting, storytelling and art was part of daily life in his village and his family. He exhibited his gifts and his love for the arts from his village as a toddler and never stopped.
Life in the villages during the apartheid era made it difficult for artists to earn a living from the work they produced. Many dreams died and talent went unrealized. Because of this hardship, the only expectation held within the village was to leave home for the big cities to seek employment and work to support their families in the villages. Many artists had to flee South African security forces and live and work in exile, and Ndabuko’s grandfather was on the list of artists whose work suffered dearly under the oppressive regime.
Art and inspiration were gifts stolen from Ndabuko’s late grandfather, Masobeshe Nqamaziyanqubula Hezekiah Ntuli, who produced gigantic sculptures, a gift he inherited from his father, who was brutally killed by white South Africans for his work because it was seen as a threat and to discourage the next generation of African artists. A stubborn man, his grandfather continued to produce great work, most of which left the country with foreign buyers. Masobeshe eventually went into exile where he continued to produce his craft. Upon his return to South Africa, he was captured and injected with an unknown drug, which resulted in his death.
Ndubko’s focus on art followed him all through his education from preschool to high school. He moved to Alexandra Township where he began developing his craft at the Alexandra Art Center for less advantaged artists. Doors started opening to galleries and exhibitions, but unscrupulous art dealers exploited artists from the townships and villages and perpetuate the struggle for artists like Ndabuko to secure a healthily life for himself and his family.
Today, Ndabuko is a well established sculptor, painter and singer. Ndabuko Ntuli has a masterpiece that has been sculpted from the valleys and fields of KwaZulu Natal to become one of the most creative and inspirational stories of our time. He has been featured in a number of group exhibitions in South Africa and London.
Moses Masoko began his creative journey as a graphic designer. In 1997, he ventured into textiles and fabric designs at EzixeleleHlombe and at the Vosloorus Art Centre. Masoko expanded on his talents as a print-maker at the Artist Pro Studio, a non-governmental organization focused on helping black artists. Masoko also taught art at the Creative Inner City Initiative in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.
In 2003, Masoko took his art to new frontiers by studying at the South African Printing College. He exhibited at the Art on Paper Gallery in Melville and at many other galleries. In addition to being featured in various galleries in South Africa, Masoko has also been featured in Dirkie Offringa’s book, "Walking Tall, Without Fear (24 South African Artists from the Struggle Era)." Moses has since expanded his horizons and his works have traveled abroad and are currently featured in exhibits in Chicago.
Jerry Lion works predominantly in pastel and charcoal, giving us his interpretation of life in the townships. He focuses mostly on kids as they remind him of his childhood. In most of his work he depicts the joy and hope of people being happy regardless of their poverty, struggle or their underprivileged background. Jerry’s work is sought-after from private collectors, organizations, art galleries and government organizations.
At this time we mostly highlight South African artists, with plans to eventually cover all of Africa. By giving these talented artists access to the global community, they’ll have an opportunity to become educated in the field of art entrepreneurship, which will not only uplift their lives but also greatly impact others in the community. A community is only as empowered as its individual members. Empower and educate these members and watch the community flourish.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
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Risks and challenges
Risks and Challenges
Filling all the rewards in a timely manner, artist getting their visa in order and in time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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