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.
RESIDENCIES AND TRAINING
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
COLLECTIONS & GALLERIES
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
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
Simphiwe Dzube, Kemang Wa Lehulere and Dion CupidoWhich 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.