The local art scene in South Africa has never been more exciting. It seems that young, stimulating talent is everywhere you look and it’s inspiring to see galleries rallying behind them and offering them a platform to display their work. And, to make sure these young stars keep shining bright, they need local support. In order to help you keep up with who’s who in the ever-growing art scene, here are some cool young artists to keep your eye on.
The name Chaplin holds a high reputation in the South African art scene, thanks to Mia Chaplin but her sister Erin is making all kinds of waves on her own accord. Her first solo show opened last week at Chandler House’s Voorkamer Gallery to much excitement. Her style of painting can’t be described as any one thing, probably owing to the fact that she isn’t formally trained as an artist and has mostly taught herself. Her use of colours and creamy textured lines results in pieces that you quite literally can’t take your eyes off of. Her exhibition, OutGrowth, will run at The Voorkamer Gallery until the end of November.
Not one to shy away from making a statement, Ndzube uses his experience of coming of age in a post-Apartheid society as inspiration for his striking and unmistakeable pieces. Though a lot of the backstory might tell a sombre tale, his works are refreshingly tongue-in-cheek and the use of multiple media mean that you can never expect just one thing from his exhibitions. He recently wrapped up a solo show at the Nicodim Gallery in Los Angeles, so you can be sure his star power is only going to rise at a meteoric rate.
Let’s be honest, Ruga is not an unknown or a newbie by any stretch but his work is continuously making waves and we figure it’s important to keep up with this mover and shaker. Born in Umthatha in the 80s, Ruga has made a name for himself as an artist able to explore utopia and dystopia while making use of multimedia, including performance. His latest work, The Queens of Exile, to be shown at WHATIFTHEWORLD at the end of November, is a tale of better storytelling. Set over three floors, the show endeavour to create a world where the excluded can be included. While he makes use of many different media, his petit point tapestries are jaw-droppingly beautiful.
Kirsten Sims’ works depict life as she knows it in Cape Town but also an engaged millennial navigating her way through a confusing modern world. Her works vary but you can often expect a whimsical mix of colours and textures done on a large scale. Sims’ doesn’t hide a thing, and the details you can pick up almost mirror how she views her own life as an open book. Her quirky pieces are in high demand and for good reason, they’re almost instant heirlooms.
Siwani is also not necessary a newcomer to the art scene but we love her dedication to bettering the local art scene for everyone, particularly black female artists. Her visceral works shine a light on the patriachal fetishization of the black female as well as the experience of black women in South Africa. While she sticks no particular medium, she has recently exhibited incredible photographs as well as experimental enamel pieces.