South African visual artist Shakes Tembani

Shakes Tembani

South Africa | 0 artworks for sale

Born in 1975, Meshack 'Shakes' Tembani grew up in Crossroads, a suburb of Cape Town. In his work Tembani pays tribute to the pillars of his society: solo parents, breadwinners and church-goers. He often depicts uniformed groups with their accordant dress code symbolic of equality, dignity and solidarity.

Notes the artist "I have a distinctive stylised and almost naive painting technique through which I invite viewers to contemplate the beautiful and seemingly ordinary by my use of bold flat colours.
I am not interested in depicting township life with its crowded shacks and failing infrastructure; I reduce any background information to shallow plains of colour and tone which serves to emphasise my human subject as the focus of my practice. I work from my own reference material which includes images snapped on my phone and personal experiences. I portray everday moments of township life and issues faced by ordinary people during the course of their daily routine. I regularly concentrate on the hardworking female figures of my community."

Meshack “Shakes” Tembani (1975-)

From a young age, Meshack “Shakes” Tembani loved art and started exploring different avenues of expression in a variety of mediums such as painting and mosaic. With a distinctive, stylized and almost naïve technique, he invites viewers to contemplate the beautiful in the seemingly ordinary by using bold and flat colours. Inspired by the everyday experiences faced by him and his community, Tembani depicts these, often concentrating on strong female figures in his neighbourhood i.e. women who are the breadwinners, church goers, single parents and entrepreneurs
Tembani grew up in the New Crossroads township (Cape Town) where he still lives and works. In 1998 he completed a Certificate in Visual Arts with the Community Arts Project. This was followed by a Certificate in Screen-printing, paper-mache, fabric painting and craft at Ruth Prowse College of Art and Design (1999). He then completed Diploma in Adult Education at the University of Cape Town in 2003 and a Product Design and Development Course at Madesa the next year. Tembani was a resident artist at the Castle of Good Hope Art Studios for a few years. He has had a number of solo exhibitions and has participated in many group exhibitions both locally and abroad. Tembani’s work has been commissioned by companies and institutions and appears in several collections globally.

2007 – 2011    Resident artist at Castle of Good Hope Art Studios
2004    Product Design and Development Course, Madesa, Observatory
2003    Diploma in Education: Adult Education, University of Cape Town
2001    Certificate: Visual Art, Art’s Cool
1999    Certificate: Screen printing, papier-mâché, fabric painting & craft, Ruth Prowse
2003    Certificate: Artists as Teachers Learnership Programme, iBhahatane Project, Frank Joubert Art Centre
1998    Certificate in Visual Arts, Community Arts Project

2011    UNQULO, AVA, Cape Town
2009    Just Dogs, AVA, Cape Town
2020    KNOOP / KNOP, Gallery University Stellenbosch
2020    We’ve come to take you home, Michaelis Gallery, UCT, Cape Town
2019    Returning the Gaze, Cape Gallery
2019    The Emerging Artist Development Trust, Travelling Gallery Mouille Point
2019    Tulbagh Art Festival, Tulbagh
2019    The Travelling Gallery, Frankfurt, Stuttgart
2019    The Travelling Gallery, Munchen, Germany
2017    Soho Pop Up Exhibition, London
2014    Telling our Story, The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
2014    Talking about Cape Town, The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
2012    Social Synergy, The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
2010    Mini me, AVA, Cape Town
2010    A dip into the World of Visual Arts in Cape Town, Embassy of Spain
2009    Tombola and the Art Reaching Fund, AVA, Cape Town
2009    Art Reach in Progress, AVA, Cape Town
2009    Studio Visit, AVA, Cape Town
2008    RE-CM, Waterfront, Cape Town
2008    Soul of Africa (DBSA), Johannesburg
2008    Art Reach, The Best of 2008, AVA, Cape Town
2007    Making Space, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2006    Face (In) Cape Town, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2004    Members Exhibition, AVA, Cape Town
2002    Annex Gallery, Cape Town

2009    Vuleka Art Competition Finalist

2019    Painting: University of Cape Town
2004    Mosaic: Kwalanga Construction of Wall Murals
2004    Seven Pebbles Mirror: Accommodation facility Robben Island
2002    Mosaic: Arabella Hotel, Western Cape
2001    Mosaic Mural: Clock Tower Hotel
2001    Mosaic: Red Cross
1999    Mural and Mosaic design and Wall construction: Guga Sthebe Centre, Kwalanga

Irma Stern Museum
The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
State of the Art Gallery, Cape Town
Ebony Gallery, Franschoek
School of Economics, University of Cape Town
The Gite Gallery, Houston, USA
Haven Holdings, Johannesburg
Nando’s Art Collection
Spier Art Collection
Hollard Art Collection
Art Innsbruk, Germany 2020
Roussouw Modern Art Gallery, Hermanus
Association for Visual Arts Gallery (AVA), Cape Town
ArtChemistry Gallery, Netherlands
ARTsouthAFRICA Gallery

Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
Simphiwe Dzube, Kemang Wa Lehulere and Dion Cupido

Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
George Pemba whose work was inspired by scenes of daily life – and the use of figures in his compositions.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
A work by George Pemba from his series which tackled issues around access to clinics.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes, I started drawing and playing with colours at an early age.
What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?

Life, church goers, single parents and ordinary workers – and dogs, the theme of my solo exhibition at the AVA in 2009.
What inspired your latest body of work?

My latest work is inspired by the lives of the ordinary people in my community.

Tell us more about your creative process.

I work from my own reference material, images snapped with my phone – and personal experience.

What drives you as an artist?

Issues and situations faced by ordinary people during the course of their daily lives.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?

Yes,  my painting featured on the exhibition invite for UnQulo in 2011 - the work shows women going to church.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

Having an opportunity to exhibit my work outside of South Africa in many of the Nando’s collections.

What are your aspirations for the future?

To continue to participate in group and solo exhibitions.