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Fabulous pictures: Feeling out the township street

04 October 2016 - 09:49 By Shelley Seid

It's almost time for the Pietermaritzburg-based Tatham Art Gallery's annual Fabulous Picture Show. The fund-raising auction, run by the Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery, calls for artists to donate up to three unframed, original artworks, no larger than A4 size, which will be auctioned on November 25. Last year's 200 donated artworks raised more than R83000; all money raised goes towards buying new works for the gallery's permanent collection.Siyabonga Sikosana has created two works for this year's auction. One is of a taxi driver in his taxi while a man uses a stick to take measurements of the taxi window. The second is a red car surrounded by people, clearly some sort of meeting is going on. "I won't tell you what is happening," teases Sikosana, "because in real life if you see people in a crowd you wonder what is going on but you never really get to know."The works are typical of Sikosana's style. Born in Willowfountain, near Pietermaritzburg, his detailed, vibrant and often humorous work reflects the social, economic, and political reality of life in the township where he grew up.His paintings are a stage he says, and the people he inserts act out their stories. "My intention is to give you the feeling of Willowfountain. I want to put you there and tell you everything - if you look closely you may see litter on the roads, or you may not, but all the details are there."Sikosana, who grew up with two older brothers who could both draw, is self-taught. "I would watch and copy. The first day of school I had to face my brothers' reputation. The kids were waiting for me and they challenged me to draw something. I used a stick to draw a bus in the sand."He went on to study textile design and technology at the Durban University of Technology, but his reputation was already entrenched; he'd sold his first piece of work to the Tatham gallery while still at school and had already taken part in group exhibitions there and at the Durban BAT Centre.His dream is to open a gallery and studio in Willowfountain.For more information on the Fabulous Picture Show see www.fotag.co.za..

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