This website is a celebration of art and artists. There will be a regular featured artist that is not neccesarily well-known, just individuals who would like their visual art/craft displayed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thupelo Found Objects Workshop at Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, September 2008

Greatmore studios hosted the Thupelo Found Objects workshop in their newly completed workspace in Woodstock, Cape Town, in September 2008.

Thupelo is a Sotho word meaning to teach/learn by example
There were 12 artists from various parts of Africa and further abroad that came together for 2 weeks of intensive creative art making from found objects. The concentration of so much energy into a short period of time encourages risk taking and experimentation that might not happen in the artist's own studio. See below for some photos.
The exchange process often has a long term effect on the practice and even sometimes lives of the participants.
There is a strong emphasis on process rather than product which means that the work exhibited at the open days may be works in progress or unfinished.

The workshop format is based on the triangle workshops established by Anthony Caro and Robert Lader in New York in 1982.

We picked up what most would consider rubbish, stuff that even vagrants discarded, and transformed it into functional and beautiful pieces of art.

Click here to view the Web Album Photos - Early days at Thupelo Found Objects Workshop

At the end of the 2 weeks we had a group exhibition on the 11th of October 2008.

Click here to view the Web Album Photos - Thupelo Found Objects Exhibition

Click here to view more pics of the exhibition

I only heard complimentary comments about the standard and innovativeness of the art works. One person said she has never laughed so much at an exhibition. I am assuming it was because of the fun way things were used.

About the artists participating in the Thupelo Found Objects Workshop 2008

Zavick aka Superdog

Zavick works with jeans what he calls man's best friend.

In the 2 weeks we were at the workshop he picked up 28 pairs of jeans and 2 jackets on dumps, in the street and gutters, and transformed a few of them into works of art.

His motto: Find it. It's out there.

His website:

Ruth Carneson

Her comments: To begin with I worked with solid, familiar images, but then discovered that what was happening behind the images with the light shining through was a lot more interesting than what I had constructed consciously in the front., I broke away from what was familiar and played with the light and how the light created its own images.

Ruth worked on paper similar to the paper that patterns for garments are printed on. The food coloring she used to stain the paper had a wonderful luminosity to it. She punched hundreds of holes in the paper, then hung it to create a dynamic piece of work.

A'isha Dollie

Graphic designer, illustrator, photographer and painter with a BA in Fine Arts specializing in graphic Design from Stellenbosch university.

She says: Having experimented with new materials and formats I walk away from the Thupelo workshop daring and bold.

Suzanne Duncan

Suzanne graduated from Michaelis in 2006. She works with hair.

She was one of the top 10 award winners at the 2008 ABSA L'Atelier competition. Her main areas of exploration are corporeality, materiality, catharsis and compulsion.

She says the Thupelo workshop gave her the push to explore other materials and processes.

Mbuta Henriques

He says: In my work I want to strongly advise people against doing or thinking bad things through exploring dimensions of personality from human science. The Thupelo workshop has given me the opportunity to experiment with different mixed media and I have discovered a new style and technique which I am excited to explore as soon as possible.

Luciano De Nobrega

He says: I consider myself as an exploration artist. No thought or understanding goes into the the placement of objects or paint, it is just what feels right in the moment, the process of creating and building up of layers. Each artwork has a charm and simplicity, expressing a language of its own.


Penelope says: At the workshop none of us were in a comfort zone, it was like jazz, we learn to syncopate using each other's energies.

Lionel Davis

He says: I am very much stimulated by interacting with other artists and thus Thupelo is for me a most stimulating environment to be working in.

The energy to create the right ingredients for a successful workshop comes from the drive and passion of its participants.

I have once again been lucky to be working alongside some very inspiring and hardworking artists.


Nothando is a B tech student at Durban Institute of Technology.

She says: My work is an interpretation of my immediate surroundings, using the found objects as a tool in documenting human conditions within the urban construct. I aim to create objects that suggest an array of issues rooted in the city with particular interest on informal trade.

Kathy Coates

Kathy has a Bachelor of fine Arts degree at UCT and Master of Technology (Fine Art) from Durban University of Technology.

She has spent many years dedicated to education in formal and community arts programmes and is currently working at Iziko National Gallery as Art educator.

She is a member of Voyage Ensemble, an art collective of migrating South African artists who address issues of Xenophobia, and other human rights issues.

She has curated many exhibitions and published several books and articles on artists.

Sonja Wilker

Sonja has been making her mark for the past 20 years.

She does creative coaching. See her coaching website.

Her art has been used for covers of SA Literary Journal (New Contrast) and used as examples in various "Process Art" publications.

She had a group exhibition at Nova Constantia in March 2008.

I have moved from mark making materials, paper, canvas and sculpture into a new world of creation using whatever I find in my environment and changing it into something virtually unrecognisable from the source.

The Thupelo Found Objects workshop has suprised, fascinated and inspired me with the variety of mark making and transforming rubbish, discarded by humanity (even hobos), into functional and/or pieces of beauty and art.

Gareth Nyandoro
Gary studied Fine Art at Harare Polytechnic and graduated with an honors degree in creative art and design at Chinhoyi University of technology.
He says it is like when you are learning to play drums, and you are just getting into it, you get so excited and then you try to follow the person drumming next to you, but that makes you lose your own rhythm. The challenge is to make exciting ..... out of these different rhythms.
Important person in our lives during the workshop
Auntie Yvonne - keeper of the gate, makes sure everything runs smoothly.

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