Limpopo-raised Khehla Chepape Makgato is increasingly positioning himself in the international arts arena and enjoying escalating exposure to global buyers. Having just exhibited at Affordable Art Fair New York City, his latest endeavour has taken him from his base in Gauteng to Chicago for a residency in collaboration with international artists.
In an email interview he referred to the Art Across Oceans cultural art exchange programme between Kohl Children’s Museum in Chicago and Play Africa in Johannesburg, linking artists as educators with children to create monoprints to add to a larger collaborate installation. In the end the work will include art of children from Johannesburg and Chicago. “We allow children to explore colour mixing with paint and a variety of tools to make lines and designs on a printing plate and create a monoprint. Also children are introduced to a concept of movie making where the art works they create are being translated into moving images.”
A call for applications for South African artists resulted in Makgato and fellow-artist Ayesha Price to be selected for the residency running from Monday until tomorrow (Friday). The collaborative aspect of the project was based on an exchange of skills and fostering a cross-generational and cultural collaboration between established artists and children. They would be facilitating monoprint and animation workshops with hundreds of young artists as was the case in Johannesburg in March this year. He stated that he was honoured to have been part of the programme as it had the potential to create future opportunities not only for himself, but also for the young artists he mentored and for his contemporaries. It is the second international programme he was shortlisted for, after the Africa Utopia 2012 Edition in London.
With participation in the programme expected to culminate in a later exhibition, a live screening of the work produced in Johannesburg and Chicago aired on 14 May this year would afford all participants the opportunity to see the commonalities in their drawings and monoprints derived from the basic techniques of printmaking, he said.
After the week-long project, Makgato would be adding another two weeks to his trip to visit art museums, galleries and studios. Thus far, he said, he had been to encyclopaedic art museum The Art Institute of Chicago and was truly inspired. Makgato, who is a freelance arts writer, mentioned that he would be writing a review on an exhibition of the work of old Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh.
Immediate future plans include participation in a group exhibition titled Otherwise at Sosesame Gallery in Melville in Johannesburg on 26 April and a Rotary art festival exhibition at Hyde Park Corner in May. He has a solo exhibition planned for Cape Town in early September.
Story: YOLANDE NEL
Photo: Khehla Chepape Makgato in Chicago.