/ 27 March 2024

Supporting art and culture in the nation’s capital city – Tshwane

Thabiso Dakamela Portrait1
Artist Thabiso Dakamela creates another masterpiece for the CAFT inaugural art fair.

CAFT aims to foster an ongoing dialogue among artists and enthusiasts

Setting up an oasis of artistic and cultural expression right in the nation’s capital city is what Capital Art Fair Tshwane seeks to accomplish. Capital cities are known to play a pivotal role in preserving the nation’s artistic legacy, serving as custodians of its cultural heritage for future generations, and forging a nation’s identity. In Tshwane, this responsibility takes on added significance, given the city’s rich political history, cultural diversity and eclectic international community. 

Marguerite Roux Portrait 1
Marguerite Roux with some of her exhibits.

By providing a platform for artists to showcase their work and engage directly with audiences, Capital Art Fair Tshwane (CAFT) wants to ensure that South Africa’s artistic legacy continues to thrive and evolve. This inaugural art fair with the theme Intersections will take place on the 10th Floor, By Summit, Menlyn (Assupol Building), 221 Garsfontein Road, from 5 to 7 April 2024.

It aims to bring together people from all walks of life, and encourage new connections that transcend boundaries and geographies. Taking place amid the vibrant international communities represented by global embassies, it becomes a hub of cultural convergence, where the shared appreciation for artistic expression is celebrated. Tshwane is truly a place where local and global meet to create a unique lifestyle and language — it leaves one scrambling for days to find the perfect words to capture the  elegance and swagger that is on full display here.

Staying true to its theme Intersections the art fair brings together different bodies of work that on one hand compel us to reflect on our shared humanity, but also remind us of the magic and frivolity of being a child fascinated by cotton candy, as some of the art pieces by Marguerite Roux reveal. 

Pieces by artists like Thabiso Dakamela prompt introspection, inviting us to consider how life manifests itself in our memories, and interactions with others. These pieces remind us of the importance of staying true to ourselves as we navigate the complexities of the world around us.

Morapedi The One Who Prays By Lerato Lodi
Morapedi, The One Who Prays, by Lerato Lodi.

Arthur Dlamini’s large photographs leave you in awe of magnitude and magnificence of human emotion. Through his lens, ordinary moments are transformed into extraordinary glimpses of the human experience, capturing the raw intensity of joy, sorrow, love and resilience. With each image, Dlamini invites us to reflect on the depth and complexity of our shared humanity, reminding us that even in the smallest of moments, there lies a world of emotion waiting to be explored.

Using gold leaf and other mediums in her work is the daring Lerato Lodi from Atteridgeville. Her work is the basis of a personal journey in negotiating the stigma often associated with both indigenous spirituality and the political history of Christianity. A very apt and compelling demonstration of the theme Intersections

“CAFT understands that art is a valuable part of our being as a people. And so, we want to make people understand that buying art and becoming part of this community is seeing value in yourself. Equally it is understanding that you are an invaluable part of enriching the African local art market. We have an array of celebrated artists who will resonate with their peers, who we want to encourage to become regular patrons through memberships,” says Lethabo Gumede, Chief Curator for CAFT.

It is this community that CAFT seeks to cultivate beyond the weekend of the art fair. Small yet connected communities of art makers and art lovers form the backbone of CAFT’s vision for a thriving cultural ecosystem. Beyond the confines of the event, CAFT endeavours to foster an ongoing dialogue among artists and enthusiasts, nurturing a supportive network where creativity flourishes and ideas can be exchanged freely with the aim of creating a thriving and sustainable art economy in Tshwane.

Sandro Trapani Tragodi Xv Small
Sandro Trapani’s Tragodi Xv Small.

Thobile Dlamini, Marketing Manager for CAFT, adds: “The absence of prominent art engagements, such as an annual art fair, has been glaringly apparent in the city.  CAFT is set to be an annual art fair that could help to establish a vibrant, thriving art community and promote the city’s brand.

“Teaming up with renowned institutions like the Pretoria Art Museum, Javett-UP, Tshwane University of Technology Arts Department and Brand South Africa, CAFT is dedicated to showcasing the vibrant art scene in Tshwane. Together, we’re shaping a cultural revival in the Jacaranda City, celebrating its unique character and fostering creativity that resonates far and wide.” 

With over 100 pieces of work from over 25 artists, this inaugural art fair seeks to bring the nation’s capital to the forefront of the global art conversation. CAFT, in its bold spirit, aims to amplify the capital city’s role in art as a central hub where diverse voices converge, where history is not only made but also depicted on canvases, and sculptures take pride of place in a range of galleries and private collections. 

Some of the artists who will be part of the art fair include Anastasia Pather,  Philiswa Lila, Collen Maswanganyi, Mark Swart, Mthuthuzeli “Sthu” Manaka, Ivukuvuku, Lerato Lodi, Arthur Dlamini, Thabiso Dakamela, Sandro Trapani and many others whose pieces collectors will find when they pop in to view the works on display at this groundbreaking art fair.

Lethabo beams with pride as she says that women artists make up over half of the artists who will be showing their engaging art pieces. Most of these artists are independent artists; groundbreaking stuff indeed.

In curating the artists for the art fair, Lethabo Gumede has been guided by a profound sense of purpose. She understands the significance of art as a means of preserving our cultural heritage and shaping our collective understanding of history. For Gumede, it’s about more than just showcasing beautiful artworks; it’s about archiving the diverse narratives of the African continent in a way that contributes to positive historical knowledge.

Each artist selected for the fair brings their own unique perspective and voice to the table, adding to the rich tapestry of stories that make up Africa’s cultural landscape. Their works serve as windows into different eras, experiences, and traditions, allowing us to glimpse the complexities and nuances of African identity.

But Gumede’s vision extends beyond mere preservation. She recognises the transformative power of art as a social lubricant;  a catalyst for thought-provoking conversations and meaningful interactions. Through their creations, the artists spark dialogue, challenge assumptions and inspire new ways of seeing the world. 

Yet, perhaps what is most important to Gumede is the ability of art to create memorable moments that bring joy to both patrons and artists alike. In a world often fraught with challenges and uncertainties, these moments of beauty and wonder serve as beacons of hope and inspiration. They remind us of the inherent goodness and creativity that resides within each of us, and they offer glimpses of a brighter, more vibrant future.

For Gumede, the art fair is also about creating experiences that linger in the hearts and minds of all who attend. Whether it is a captivating painting that transports us to another world, a thought-provoking sculpture that challenges our perceptions, or a mesmerising performance that moves us to tears, each moment has the power to leave a lasting impression.

Arthur Dlamini Portrait 2
Arthur Dlamini, busy with one of his artworks.

Patrons that attend will have the opportunity to absorb the works of these highly acclaimed contemporary artists, converse with the artists, participate in engaging art activities and the public talks lined up, and interact with other art enthusiasts. 

The VIP Opening Night on April 5 will offer an exclusive preview. In what may be an art industry first,  one of the guests at the opening night stands a chance to walk away with an authenticated Dr Esther Mahlangu art piece. 

The public talks programme takes off on April 6, with panel discussions featuring young, dynamic industry thinkers such as Dr Sechaba Maape, Amogelang Maledu, Tshegofatso Seoka, Shenaz Mahomed, Puleng Plessie as well as Zana Masombuka and Bontle Juku. On 7 April there will be a reflective discussion on the “We, The Purple” exhibition.

And if you are keen to get your hands dirty, there is a metal sculpture workshop by renowned award-winning artist Sandro Trapani. Javett-UP will host a kiddies paint station on a 5m canvas, providing children with painting materials to unleash their creativity, and yes, cause a joyful chaotic mess!

Tickets for Capital Art Fair Tshwane can be purchased online at Webtickets.


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