• Selvin November

    Selvin November
    • Artist Statement
      • I’m an artist who explores socio-political issues such as globalisation, identity and memory, utilising design and visual language to express my ideas onto a painted surface. My current work explores the notion of freedom and its binary slavery. The work investigates ideas pertaining to what it means to be free in our current socio-political landscape.
        My current Abstract work presents me with the space, to express my ideas using line, form and colour. It was Immanuel Kant, who said that: “An important criteria for art is free play of the imagination”. The idea of freedom can only be attained if you believe in yourself as an individual. I employ elements of nature in my work as a metaphor for freedom, using line in an expressive and free way. The bars in my work represent enslavement, which I counter with the use of open colourful forms that serves as a metaphor for freedom, thus creating tension, which in its turn creates movement within the work.

        My favourite tool is the brush, and I have a huge selection of brushes, which I use for different applications. All the different brushes allow me to achieve various mark making techniques on the canvas. The medium that I use the most is oil paint, which is so versatile; you can mix it with other mediums such as Alkalin, turpentine and stand oil to manipulate the consistency, fat or thin, and for glazing one layer on top of another. I love mixing my own colours and enjoy the tactile feeling of applying those paints onto the canvas.

        As far as I can remember the idea of freedom has always been important to me. My very first memory of art making is when I was 7 years old, when my art teacher Mrs Sylvester, asked the class to draw a chicken as an exercise. I ended up deciding to draw the chicken using as many colours as possible, which impressed her, and made a huge impact on my decision to become an artist. It was a clear defining moment, I realised how important it is to inspire people with my art. It was also at this age that I become politically aware, due to the riots of 1976, which literally happened in the streets. The call for freedom was on the forefront of the political battle, at the time, and the word, FREEDOM, was visible all over walls, in the form graffiti. It was at that point I realised how powerful a visual message can be and my goal become to create artworks that will move people emotionally and give them something to think about.
    • Biography
      • N.Dip Art and Design (Cape Technikon)


        Selvin November (b. 1969) was born in, and still lives and works in Cape Town. He completed a Diploma in Art and Design at Cape Technikon and was awarded a three-month residency on Robben Island in 1996. His latest of two solo exhibitions was The Portrait Speaks at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town in 2008. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions - the most recent being a group show at the AVA gallery, entitled, Salon Cape Town, in 2018.

        Selected Exhibitions:

        2019
        Solo exhibition:Freedom Of The Streets - Worldart, Cape Town
        Solo exhibition as festival artist, US Woordfees, Stellenbosch

        2008
        Solo exhibition: The Portrait Speaks, A.V.A gallery, Cape Town

        2007
        Solo exhibition: Memory Project and Video Work at A.V.A gallery, Cape Town

        Group Shows:
        2018

        Cape Town Salon, group show, AVA Gallery

        2017
        Cape Town Art fair, collaborative work with Spier Academy

        2016
        Break The Spell, a group show at Oude Libertas Gallery, curated by Louis Jansen van Vuuren

        2015
        Portretteer: close-ups in Image and Text at Oude Libertas Gallery, curated by Louis Jansen van Vuuren

        2014
        Pentimenti, part of US Woordfees. Curated by Louis Jansen van Vuuren.
        Pentimenti, A Collaborative Group Show with Louis Jansen van Vuuren, Sasol Museum

        2013
        Pentimenti, A Collaborative Group Show with Louis Jansen van Vuuren, Sasol Museum
        Re-Imagine Cape Town exhibition, part of Suidoosterfees

        2012
        Ingekleur, a group show, A.V.A gallery, Cape Town
        Video installation, Iziko Slave Lodge June 2012 - February 2013, Remember November: What is in a name?


    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        Mongezi Ncaphayi. His use of abstraction to explore materiality and ideas around freedom resonates with me.

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        Peter Clarke. He was resilient as an artist in terms of creating working even during difficult times. He was always willing to share his wisdom and experiences and motivate younger artists. It makes me happy that he was finally recognized as an important South African artist after his death.

        If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
        The young ladies of Avignon by Pablo Picasso

        How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
        My very first memory of art making is when I was 7 years old, when my art teacher Mrs Sylvester, asked the class to draw a chicken as an exercise. I ended up deciding to draw the chicken using as many colours as possible, which impressed her, and made a huge impact on my decision to become an artist.

        What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?

        There have always been four main themes to my work: identity, memory, mark making and social justice. These themes have informed my works from figurative to abstract. My recent rediscovery of abstraction has lent itself to the exploration of street art and how these themes are interwoven into the landscape and language of our communities.

        What inspired your latest body of work?
        Well, that’s a simple question for a very complex process. I think that this current body of work is only the current step in the evolution of my work. It’s always fascinated me how people choose to mark the surfaces around them. In my research through the years I’ve often come across graffiti as an urban form of mark-making. And this urban art form is often associated with youth and street culture. This in turn led to my exploration of issues that young people face and trying to express these in my works. Hence the title “Young, free and single”

        Tell us more about your creative process.
        I often get asked how I get inspiration for my work. Many people assume that as artists we sit around all day waiting for inspiration to strike. But the reality is that being an artist is hard work.I do a lot of research between works. I watch videos on any number of subjects that interest me at that time. I also spend time looking at other artists work and seeing what’s happening in the art world currently. This is also a great to time for me to review and reflect on my previous works.
        There’s a lot of thought that goes into a series of painting before the paint even touches the canvas. And as an artist you must find that difficult balance between the thought/concept and the organic evolution of the piece. It’s a solitary time of self reflection and self criticism. And externalising this inner process onto a canvas.

        What drives you as an artist?
        I want to inspire and move people emotionally and enrich people intellectually. My ultimate goal is spiritual fulfillment for the viewer and myself.

        Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
        No, I don’t.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        Being selected as a Festival artist for the US Woordfees 2019. It was a great honour and an amazing platform for me as an artist.

        What are your aspirations for the future?
        I’m working towards becoming a player in the international arts arena + promoting pan african culture and black consciousness as defined by Steve Biko “[Black Conscioussness] seeks to infuse the black community with a new-found pride in themselves, their efforts, their value systems, their culture, their religion and their outlook to life” (1971)

  • Ek Is Vry Om Te Dans (free to dance) - Painting by Selvin November SELVIN NOVEMBER
    Ek Is Vry Om Te Dans (free to dance)
    Painting / 160 x 160 cm
    $4 530
  • Speel By Die Reëls (play by the rules) - Painting by Selvin November SELVIN NOVEMBER
    Speel By Die Reëls (play by the rules)
    Painting / 160 x 160 cm
    $4 530
  • Gister, Vandag en More (yesterday, today, tomorrow) - Painting by Selvin November SELVIN NOVEMBER
    Gister, Vandag en More (yesterday, today, tomorrow)
    Painting / 65 x 65 cm
    $880
  • Ek Wag Nog (still waiting) - Painting by Selvin November SELVIN NOVEMBER
    Ek Wag Nog (still waiting)
    Painting / 65 x 65 cm
    $880