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SIHLE MTHETHWA’S ABALAYEZI (article first published : 2006-04-21)

The BAT Centre is hosting Abalayezi, a new solo exhibition in the Menzi Mchunu Gallery of oil pastels by Sihle Mthethwa until May 12.

Sihle Mthethwa began his career in art through attending art classes at the BAT Centre in 2003 and being part of their artists in residency programme during the same year. This exhibition is of works he has been making since 2004 when he started to concentrate on doing portraits of various individuals as a way of acknowledging them and paying tribute to local heroes – like Ukhozi FM jocks.

His exhibition is entitled Abalayezi. According to Sihle, key influential people, like councillors; politicians and media personalities, should take responsibility of informing the community about decisions which have been taken by people in authority or newsworthy events which impact on the community. These influential people are the eyes and ears of any community. They play an important role when it comes to looking after the interests of the people. This exhibition is a celebration of the impact these people have on the society they serve.

Sihle Mthethwa was born on the South Coast to a family of six. He started engaging in art at an early age and was soon noticed by his teachers who took an interest in what he did. By high school he was asked to paint a mural for his school – Shokomisa High Primary. At that time he started exploring ballpoint portraits of his fellow students. His first portrait was of Nelson Mandela – in Sihle’s words, “It is every artist’s passion to be able to represent him.”

Since joining the BAT Artist in Residency programme, Sihle has focused on his portraiture and is delighted to be exhibiting some of his most accomplished portraits in his up-coming solo exhibition.

There will be a walkabout of the exhibition Sihle Mthethwa accompanied by BAT Centre’s art co-ordinator, Njabulo Mtshali, on April 26 at 11h00. Entry is free and all are welcome.

Abalayezi runs until May 12. More information from the BAT Centre during office hours on 031 332 0451.




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