The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios is proud to annually host the David Koloane Award, celebrating the life and career of David Koloane (b.1938), internationally respected artist, curator, writer and founding member of the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios. Koloane was born in Alexandra, Johannesburg in 1938. He received his art training from 1974 to 1977 at the Bill Ainslie Studios, which later became the Johannesburg Art Foundation. Since the late 1970s, Koloane has been a pioneer in the development of the black art community in South Africa. He co-founded Johannesburg’s first black art gallery and was the head of Fine Arts at the Federative Union of Black Artists (FUBA). He was instrumental in establishing studio space for black artists at The Fordsburg Artists’ Studios (the Bag Factory) and he founded the Thupelo Workshops in South Africa, a concept that spread to Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The Bag Factory founded in 1991 also became the studio space which made it possible for black and white artists to work together on a professional level, despite the apartheid legislation of that time
The focus of this year’s David Koloane Award falls on painting and the two recipients of the award, not only received a two-month residency at the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, but mentoring by two of the Bag Factory’s established resident artists, Kagiso Patrick Mautloa (b.1952) and Bev Butkow (b.1976). The mentees time at the Bag Factory concludes with their work being showcased along-side their mentors at the FNB Joburg Art Fair (6-9 September 2018) made possible by the Department of Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture, Artlogic and the FNB Joburg Art Fair.
The recipients of this year’s award, Lwando Dlamini and Phemo Matlhabe, joined the Bag Factory for their two-month residencies in mid-July. Twenty-seven-year-old Phemo Matlhabe, from the North West province, is a partly self-taught artist who has previously exhibited works at the Klerksdorp Museum, Molly Art Gallery, and Alice Art. His portraits have also been highlighted in the Old Mutual Business Magazine, he has recently produced a calendar for Brainstorm Magazine, and he created two portraits made out of old computer parts for the computer company Experien’ to create awareness about recycling. Phemo says that during his time at the Bag Factory he has already learned so much: “being taken out of my comfort zone has helped me to break through an artistic threshold in a sense and I am thinking more than ever before”. About his two mentors, he adds “Bev [Butkow] and Pat [Mautloa] speak to the different sides of me. They are both such inspiring artists and people, and have been fantastic in helping me add a new definition to my work”. The work Phemo will be presenting at the 2018 FNB Joburg Art Fair explores different aspects and dynamics of identity.
Twenty-six-year-old Lwando Dlamini was born in Cape Town and currently lives and works in Johannesburg. He graduated in Fine Art from the Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2017 and explores his personal experiences of illness, violence, and near death experiences in his works. His works that will be shown at this year’s FNB Joburg Art Fair is a continuation of the ongoing exploration of these themes. “We learned about David Koloane in school and I still remember the very first time I saw him at the Bag Factory. It is such an honour to be the recipient of the David Koloane Award and to work alongside artists such as David Koloane, Bev Butkow and Pat Mautloa”, says Dlamini. He continues by saying that he has gained so much from the mentorship already, including confidence to present his work and professionalism, as well as new insight into the process of creating: “Our mentors have been great at teaching us that this mentorship is not about finishing artwork, but about creating, exploring and learning”. What has stayed with him is what one of this year’s mentors, Pat Mautloa, said: “With painting, you always have to realize that you haven’t tried everything”.
The two recipients of this year’s David Koloane Award are being mentored by resident artists at the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Kagiso Patrick Mautloa and Bev Butkow. Kagiso Patrick “Pat” Mautloa has been a part of the Bag Factory since the organisation’s inception 27-years ago in 1991. He studied visual art at a host of small schools and art centres before obtaining a Diploma in Fine Art from the prestigious ELC Art Centre at Rorke’s Drift, Natal and became a full-time artist in 1992. Mautloa has participated in several significant local and international exhibitions and was involved with the formation of the Thupelo Workshops (as a part of the international Triangle Network) in 1985 along with artists such as David Koloane and Bill Ainslie. Mautloa taught at FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists) from the early 1980s and was instrumental to the Thupelo Gallery while there.
Bev Butkow immerses herself in the exploration of materials, pulling apart and weaving together figurative and literal narrative fragments. Resurrecting her childhood dream, accountant-turned-artist Butkow started making art in her mid-40’s and is now a full-time artist. She is currently working towards a Master of Fine Art at Wits University, having graduated Honours in Art History at Wits with distinction in 2017 and presenting at academic conferences. Butkow had a solo exhibition in 2015, winning a Merit Award in the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award the same year. Since then, she has exhibited in numerous group shows and art fairs including the National Arts Festival. Her work is housed in local and international collections. Deeply committed to social engagement and education, she co-founded a library in Limpopo and sits on the board of 11 schools. Butkow was born and lives in Johannesburg and is based at the Bag Factory Artist Studios in Johannesburg, blocks away from where her grandfather peddled eggs in the 50’s and 60’s.
Works by Mautloa, Butkow, Dlamini and Mathlabe will be on show at the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios booth (A05) at this year’s FNB Joburg Art Fair (6-9 September 2018) at the Sandton Convention Centre.
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