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Meet Artist Meshack “Shakes” Tembani

 Meet Artist Meshack “Shakes” Tembani

Puff and Pass.

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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.

Meshack “Shakes” Tembani grew up in the New Crossroads township (Cape Town) where he still lives and works.  

From a young age, Shakes 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

Coronamask II. 

Inspired by the everyday experiences faced by him and his community, Shakes depicts these, often concentrating on strong female figures in his neighbourhood i.e. women who are the breadwinners, church goers, single parents and entrepreneurs 

Shakes told StateoftheArt: “In my work I pay tribute to the hard workers in our society: solo parents, breadwinners and church-goers. I often depict uniformed groups with their accordant dress code symbolic of equality, dignity and solidarity.

I use a deliberate stylised technique of bold, flat colour on canvas in a minimalistic palette to portray human figures recognisable by their group identity rather than their individual characteristics.” 

Education and exhibits

In 1998 he completed a Certificate in Visual Arts with the Community Arts Project.  

Grannies.

This was followed by a Certificate in Screen-printing, Papier-mâché, 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. 

Rush Hour.

He has had several 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. 

See more of his work here. 

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Ray Maota