Online art gallery launches to promote Southern African artists

Online art gallery launches to promote Southern African artists

Knysna-based art consultant Sandy Bekker has launched a new online gallery – iAfrica Gallery – which is designed to promote Southern Africa’s hidden, emerging, and established visual artists.
“My aim is to bridge the divide between outstanding local artists who’re looking for new markets, and domestic and overseas collectors who’re looking for solid investment opportunities in exceptional contemporary African talent,” she said.

Ms. Bekker holds both a fine arts degree from the University of Stellenbosch, and a financial management certificate from the University of Cape Town, and has managed brick-and-mortar art galleries and curated group and solo exhibitions in South Africa and England.

“As a fine artist myself, I clearly understand the challenges that young artists face – and since I live in a small town, I also understand what it’s like to try and establish yourself beyond the borders of the main metropolitan centres,” said Ms. Bekker.

This, she said, places her in a perfect position to advise and guide talented emerging artists – while the web site provides the platform they need for international exposure.

“But it isn’t just about emerging artists: since I don’t expect the artists to sign me up for exclusive representation, I’m able to offer established artists a new and exciting channel for marketing selected works from their portfolios.”
Works currently on exhibition on iAfrica Gallery range from Florian Junge’s life-size equestrian sculpture in galvanised, reclaimed steel, Summus Unus (We Are One), to some of Obie Oberholzer’s iconic photographs of the romance and reality of rural life in South Africa – alongside the remarkably evocative (and very high-end) charcoal drawings of Phillemon Hlungwani, and paintings by rising stars like Artwell Musungate and Mbongeni Fakudze.

“These are just some of the artists on show – but this list does illustrate their diversity: Florian Junge is a German-born sculptor now living in South Africa; Obie Oberholzer is probably South Africa’s best-known photographer (with 35 solo exhibitions, 12 international solo exhibitions, and ten books to his name); Phillemon Hlungwani – who grew up in rural Giyani in Limpopo Province – is considered one of South Africa’s most accomplished contemporary artists; Zimbabwe-born Artwell Musungate is an exciting new talent working in acrylics and collage here in Knysna; and Mbongeni Fakudze was born in Swaziland and now lives in Johannesburg, where he produces mixed-media portraits inspired by the issues facing African women today,” said Ms. Bekker.

“Buying art is an intensely personal experience for many people, and the web can be an impersonal space.

“So our aim is to be personally available to anybody who visits iAfrica Gallery – be they artists or buyers – and by fostering real relationships with them, to foster the development of fine art in Southern Africa,” she said.

Visit iAfrica Gallery online: