Archive for September 2018

Artists journey from rural village beginnings to international recognition and reward


An increasingly renowned artist, an avid philanthropist and a freelance arts writer are just a few ways to describe Khehla Chepape Makgato who will be exhibiting at the RK Contemporary art gallery in Riebeek Kasteel from 27 May until 20 June 2018.

This young artist is quickly making a name for himself, with his most recent achievement being the receipt of the 2018 Zygote Press International Artist Residency in Cleveland, USA.

Awards, collaborations and residencies
Makgato, who was born in Johannesburg and raised in a rural village outside Polokwane in Limpopo, has a diploma for Fine Arts, majoring in Printmaking, as well as a diploma in Media Practice, majoring in Journalism. A prolific writer, artist and mentor Makgato founded, and is the creative director at Samanthole Creative Projects which provides art skills, encourages reading of poetry and literature, and motivates the youth in rural communities of South Africa.

His list of accolades includes being one of two South African delegates to the 2012 Africa Utopia Youth Arts, Cultural and Olympia Festivals of the World at the Southbank Centre in London. He has participated in numerous art exhibitions both locally and internationally. In 2015 he collaborated with William Kentridge on a project and continues to work with him to date. He has won a studio art bursary from the African Arts Trust. He is also an inaugural recipient of the 2016 Art Across Oceans Residency at Kohl Children’s Museum in Chicago, USA. He was the winner of the ImpACT Award for Visual Artist in 2016 from the Arts & Culture Trust of South Africa, and he was the Mapungubwe Visual Artist of The Year in 2016.

From 2010 to 2015, he prepared grant proposals, developed budgets and obtained funding from private donors for arts workshops in rural communities across South Africa. He also established the Rhodes Park Library Kids Book Club to encourage reading and writing in his community of Kensington.

Next solo exhibition
Makgato, who works in a range of mediums, including collage and assemblage art, and whose art often focuses on social issues and the people involved in them, will be holding a solo exhibition at the RK Contemporary art gallery in Riebeek Kasteel in the Western Cape which will run from 27 May until 20 June 2018. Entitled CHRONICLES FROM MAKOTOPONG, this exhibition features a body of work inspired by the artists memories and experiences from the rural village in which he grew up.

This body of work explores and revisits the village – Makotopong, a small village over 18 kilometers outside Polokwane – in which I spent the first two decades of my life,” says Makgato.

Some titles reflect the names of real people in memory, especially rich names of women from the Northern-Sotho culture. There is an abstract self-portraiture frequenting this body of work.”

The show especially seeks to honour the ever-hardworking and resilient women who, despite so many challenges and under-resourced facilities in their homes and communities at large, manage to bring up children of note – who become important adults. In this instance, I used the recently appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Cape Town University, Professor Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng-Setati to reference the success against odds by black women in South Africa who are constantly confronted by male dominated workplace environments. Professor Phakeng’s achievements can inspire a little girl in a dusty rural village, such as where I come from, to strive for a dream.”

Astrid McLeod, owner and curator of RK Contemporary says that she is extremely excited to have Makgato exhibiting at the gallery. “Khehla Chepape Makgato is a rising star whose work is increasingly sought after. Private and institutional art collections the world over feature his work. Not only this – but the man himself seeks to challenge the norm and to do things differently – this is an ethos shared by RK Contemporary.”

For more information contact Astrid McLeod on 083 6533 697 or email


Khoikhoi stories as abstract pop art

A solo exhibition by contemporary artist Ade Kipades pays tribute to the stories told by the Khoikhoi through bold and colourful abstract art works that are both fun and serious in their intention of honouring this original South African tribe.

Entitled ‘Khoikhoi Pop’ this unique exhibition takes places at the RK Contemporary Gallery in Riebeek Kasteel from 02 September until end September.

The Inspiration
The Khoikhoi – which means ‘men of men’ or ‘the real people’ – were the first pastoralists or ‘herders’ in Southern Africa, and the first indigenous people to come into contact with the Dutch settlers in the Cape in the mid 17th century. As the Dutch took over land for farms, the Khoikhoi were eventually dispossessed, and their society and way of life disintegrated.

During this time, the Khoikhoi, who are known for their rich oral traditions and tales passed down from generation to generation, developed many stories depicting the situation between themselves and the Dutch – tales that are rich with satire, mockery and ridicule designed to undermine the settlers,” says Kipades, who explains that the Khoi satire drew upon the characteristics of certain animals that matched those of both Khoikhoi and settler attributes – such as the trickster Jackal, being the Khoikhoi, and the dominating Lion, being the settlers. “In the Khoikhoi stories collected by Thomas Baines and Leonhard Schultz, these two prominent characters emerged.”

Artwork on Exhibition
For this exhibition, Kipades used a technique developed by the Surrealists called automatic drawing which allows the artist to depict and express their subconscious. “In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move “randomly” across the paper and is thus to a large extent freed of rational control.”

I am drawing parallels between the fun element in Khoikhoi satire and my approach to constructing an abstract painting. I see my work as both fun and serious – and use playful lines, colors and shapes that form subtle optical tricks as if to mock the perception.”

Astrid McLeod, owner and curator of RK Contemporary says that she is very excited to see the final pieces on exhibit in the gallery. “Ade’s depiction of these Khoikhoi stories is a unique concept that has given rise to highly collectable art works that are connected to South African history.”

For more information on Khoikhoi Pop contact Astrid McLeod on 083 6533 697 or email