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The Concept of Art Collection – Ntuthuko Mpofu Takes A Look At How & Why People Collect Art

“Why am I buying art? Is it going to appreciate in value over time? Am I paying a fair price for it?”

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The Concept of Art Collection - Ntuthuko Mpofu Takes A Look At How & Why People Collect Art Asante Afrika Magazine
The Late Sindika Dokolo, 1972-2020
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I am forever indebted to the experienced artists who gave me a head start in my journey to know more about art. In  our first article, we highlighted the Contemporary Art culture. It is my self-imposed mandate to unveil and exhibit African art on this forum, which may be accessible to us as ordinary Africans, while we continue seeking an understanding and appreciation of art. The invitation by visual artist Bukhosi Nyathi to his open studio exhibition changed my perspective towards the visual arts in Africa, because art makes us see in a broader and more comprehensive sense.

No single scholar can claim specialised knowledge of all periods in the history of art, but we do acknowledge those who have dedicated their lives to finding out more about art. As I write this issue, I would like to eulogise the life of the great Congolese collector, Sindika Dokolo, who was married to Isabel dos Santos, and died tragically in a sea-accident in Dubai on October 29th this year. Death has robbed us of one of the best art advocates. He started collecting art at the age of 15 and owned one of the world’s most important contemporary art collections. As described by Quartz Africa, he earned his reputation as a great supporter of African art. He has been reported to have more than 3000 works by the likes of South Africans Zanele Muholi and Kentridge, Kudzanai Chiurai of Zimbabwe, Barthelemy Togua of Cameroon, and Edson Chagas of Angola, among others.

Sindika Dokolo also played a huge role in advocating for the return of stolen artefacts. He also built a foundation in Luanda, Angola, which helped in promoting African contemporary art by displaying part of his collection, in addition to the free lending of some of the works to international museums that agreed to appraise the art, from the perspective of Africans. His death has been a big blow to the whole art fraternity.

Now, back to the matter at hand, when one is buying art as a beginner, there are always many things they should consider before buying the art; questions like, “Why am I buying art? Is it going to appreciate in value over time? Am I paying a fair price for it?” etc. We all talk about preparing for the future, but in art, I believe it’s also a mind game of saying that one can determine the price fairness at that particular time, based on the current market information. Many people don’t want to take a risk of investing in art, because they don’t know how to read the art market. You don’t want to invest in something that you cannot fathom whether the value will appreciate in future, or not, therefore it is best to do some research and find out as much as you can before buying a piece. 

“How do I find it? Who can help me buy the art? Where do I start to look for it?”

Also, before buying art, everyone should ask themselves if they are buying art for enjoyment, or as an investment. Art can be a lifestyle choice, a decorative choice, or simply a representation of beauty in an environment. It can also be about exploring fascinating perspectives, which can be informative, or even educative. The question to ask at this point should be, “What happens when I see a certain piece?” There are many benefits of one investing in exclusive and valuable art pieces. If I am buying art, I ask myself the following questions… “How do I find it? Who can help me buy the art? Where do I start to look for it?” After finding the available different kinds of art, the next step would be to decide what kind of art you want to focus on. The eye and your taste will determine this part of the process. The more art you see, the more visually literate and open-minded you become on different art subjects. There has been an increase on online art sales, so there is a variety of works to collect. The best advice I would give to any upcoming art collector, is to read about art to broaden your knowledge. If you are not familiar with the art market, it will be difficult to know how much you should spend.

The Concept of Art Collection - Ntuthuko Mpofu Takes A Look At How & Why People Collect Art Asante Afrika Magazine
The Late Sindika Dokolo, 1972-2020 

When buying art, make sure that you limit your purchases – do not go too deep, too fast, as they say. One should start off by buying reasonably priced art. You cannot put big money into something that you don’t have a full understanding of. Building relationships with artists is one of the best things; try to understand where the artist is coming from, and what his/her goals are in terms of art as a career. As you become more experienced and confident in your art buying, you can gradually increase your price per piece. One artist once told me to buy their best work, rather than buying smaller pieces, because when you are planning to get into art buying once you better understand the marketplace and especially the art and artists whose work you collect, an excellent strategy is to buy the best work by an artist rather than smaller or less significant works. If the best work is too expensive or you’re not all that experienced, sometimes starting smaller is better.

Another option is to start with artists whose best work is more affordable and within your price range. Whatever you do, don’t get ahead of your knowledge level. Take your time, get grounded, and learn how to effectively navigate the arts scape first. Throughout the buying process, I have finally gotten to understand why building a relationship is important. Open studios will be the best way to building those relationships, because at times buying from galleries will mean that the price has been escalated. With the Covid-19 pandemic, it is better to keep a look out on social platforms like Instagram, as online platforms have made a big impact on business, which can lead to sales. In fact, we can no longer talk about the concept of buying art without talking about the appreciation of the digital era. You can now discover so much more varied types of art from different artists around the world, and make a purchase if you like what you see, just at the touch of a button.

.The Concept of Art Collection - Ntuthuko Mpofu Takes A Look At How & Why People Collect Art Asante Afrika Magazine 

Collection by Ivy & Alison Co. 

Untitled 

35cm x 40cm 

Acrylic on Sandboard

The Concept of Art Collection - Ntuthuko Mpofu Takes A Look At How & Why People Collect Art Asante Afrika Magazine

Collection by Ivy & Alison Co. 

Title: Chasing Chickens 2

 Size: 46cm x 61cm 

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

Connect with Ntuthuko on IG: @iam_ntuthuko

Art

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume

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Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
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I am sure we all can agree that the beginning of the year 2020 was a rude awakening wrapped in a global event for the books due to the Covid19 pandemic. Zimbabwean sculptor slash Lawyer, David Chengetai Ngwerume, took to his creative outlet to not only process but provide a map for future generations in the form of his work, ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic Collection’ that has taken the world by storm.

According to Ngwerume, art “…is a duty and calling…”

The 40-year old’s sculpting journey started in the humble communal lands of Musana in 1995 under the instruction of revered fellow sculptor Cosmas Muchenje. He continued to excel in his academic studies as well which led him to an LLB (Bachelor of Laws, Honours) in 2006 from the University of Zimbabwe.  

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
One of Ngwerume’s pieces

According to Ngwerume, “Art is a duty and calling that I persistently continue using various forms mainly in Stone Sculpture in invoking thought into Humanity, share awareness with the contemptuous world.” Ngwerume’s sculptures have been exhibited all over the world from Hong Kong (China), Canada to the United States of America, and locally in Zimbabwe at the Hebert Chitepo Memorial. 

“My ambitions are global so I am in for it; it’s not always about where you are but where you are going.”

The sculptor’s ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic Collection’ comprises of pieces such as ‘MJ’ inspired by the pop icon Michael Jackson, encouraging people to mask up and get vaccinated. Another piece in the collection is called, ‘We are Torn’ which encourages people to sneeze into their elbows.

He is currently working on two other collections:

  • ‘Thy Next World Collection’ which addresses concerns pertaining to humanity as we move into the future;
  • And ‘Taking the Reins Collection’ which looks at the advancement of the world through the relationship between people and horses and their loyalty to humanity.

Ngwerume’s art is a reflection of the times and he is not stopping any time soon. He is also responsible for the iconic ‘Scales of Justice’ sculptures situated in front of the High Court in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare and the second capital, Bulawayo. We got to chat with the sculptor.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
  • The first question is probably something you get a lot, but I just have to ask; how did you manage to find yourself in the world of law and sculpting? To us laymen, the fields look so vastly different.

I am a hard worker and I believe staying in work in both professions has made me invincible. The modern-day world is driven by skill and knowledge and it is acquired by putting in more effort.

“As a creative I also can tell you inspiration is everywhere, everyday life is filled with endless sources of influence.”

  • Have you ever found yourself in a position to choose between the two (law and sculpting) or a situation where one had to suffer for the benefit of the other?

Never! My ambition has always been to do more and I believe amongst the many I do I can manage both. If anything my professions feed off each other in a way.

  • What is the intention of your art?

To influence change in this world and make it a better place through various mediums from Stone Sculpture, paintings, installations and various other mediums in portraying contemporary messages that invoke thoughts into humanity towards shaping their moment in times and make this world move towards positive thinking. 

  • In a past article, it is mentioned that you draw inspiration from your experience practising law; can you remember the first case that inspired an exhibit? Why did you find the case worthy of being your muse?

The first case I got inspired by was a Domestic Violence case. It motivated me to do a painting titled, WOMEN – STRUGGLE from the CRADLE. It was the extent of damage this particular domestic abuse case had inflicted on those involved that moved me to create.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume with more of his work.
  • In another article it is mentioned that you mostly use serpentine stone, why is that?

I use various types of stones in my sculpting, like Spring stone, Opal, Lepidolite and Granite. It all depends on the message I intend to portray.

  • Would you say you have any sculptors who either they personally or their work influences your work?

I am inspired by many sculptors like Michael Angelo, Gustav Vigeland and Dominic Benhura to name a few. As a creative I also can tell you inspiration is everywhere, everyday life is filled with endless sources of influence.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
  • Sculpting isn’t really popular in Zimbabwe, how can you say the sculpting scene is in Zimbabwe? Is there a support structure from fellow sculptors or it’s more of finding your own way?

Zimbabwe in a nutshell is about finding your way, but the upside of today’s world is that it’s a global village. In this global village, if you do your best, the world will always notice. My ambitions are global so I am in for it; it’s not always about where you are but where you are going.

  • Could you please try explaining to us the creative journey you took in creating your popular COVID 19 Gallery?

The COVID-19 Pandemic is a global event affecting us all, and as an artist, I found it prudent to play my part in capturing the moments and share my views on Awareness and Vaccination.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume’s piece ‘MJ’
  • In making the exhibit MJ, how did you hone in on making the sculpture about the U.S pop star Michael Jackson?

MJ was the first public figure to move around wearing a mask, and his actions were early warnings of our reality, where the air we breathe is not safe as before because of COVID-19. His messages then were foretelling.

  • According to New York-based art dealer Shingirai Mafara, your pieces are going to be part of the United Nations World Health Organisation permanent collection. Such an achievement, congratulations! How does knowing your work will live on long after you are gone feel? One could call it time travel of sorts, conversing with future generations.

I believe art is a reflection of perception and I am grateful for such higher strides being attained through my ingenuity. It is humbling to know that my work will inform, maybe even inspire future generations all over the world.

  • How has it been coming into contact with big art dealers like Shingirai Mafara and do you think that has or will affect your style or subject matter moving forward?

Such dealers inspire my work and further my will to create and give me higher hopes that my art will be seen globally.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume’s piece, ‘Halt Child Marriages’
  • Your most recent exhibit, “Halt Child Marriages” is definitely one for the times. As a man, where do you think the root problem lies in Zimbabwe’s child-bride pandemic?   

The issue when it comes to child marriages is pure ugly GREED. The greediness in those men is uncalled for, it’s dirty, it’s illegal and it is immoral to view the young Girl Child as an object. We need to right such wrongs, and I am more than happy to lend my artistry to the cause.

(All pictures used are courtesy of David Ngwerume’s Facebook)

Interviewed by Hazel Lifa

hazel@asanteafrika.net

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Careers

Kumi Samuel – Sculpture Made in Ghana

My biggest achievement since I started art is the fact that I have been able to stay in the field of sculpting despite all the challenges I have encountered.

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Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Kumi Samuel's sculpture of the late Jerry Rawlings, former President of Ghana
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When they moved to a village where there was a riverbank nearby, Kumi’s parents noticed from a very early age that he was very good at moulding faces with mud; and thus began the journey of them supporting their son to achieve his dream of becoming a world-renowned sculptor. Born in 1983 and residing in Kumasi, Ghana, read on to find out more about this amazing and talented artist who creates life-size and ‘life-like’ sculptures.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

Like any child, you started playing with mud when you were about five years old, creating shapes and human heads. From then on you went on to study art at high school. What is it about art and sculpting which you enjoyed so much from such an early age, and when did you realise that you are actually really good at art?

Modelling, which involves the addition of clay to create form, has been one aspect of sculpture that I enjoyed right from an early age. During that time, I would sculpt pestles, mortars, heads, and other similar things with mud. I realised that I have such a creative talent when I modelled my first bust of someone, which moved my father to showcase it to his friends in our village.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

Your parents realised your talent and allowed you to pursue your dream of studying art at Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. What qualification did you embark on at the university, and how many years was the programme?

When I had the opportunity to study in K.N.U.S.T, I specialised in sculpture and improved on my modelling skills and more also on finishing modelling works for four (4) years.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

What was your area of specialisation during your course?

I settled mostly on figurative figures, purely African figures.

What mantra do you live by as an artist?

I am of the opinion that “Things that remain to remind man of what is lost, are equally important.”

After graduating in 2011, you have been working as an artist at your studio, mostly doing commissioned work. How has that been going, and are the returns good enough for you to earn a living from?

Yes, it is these commissions that keep us on our feet to survive and also gain from the talent we have. So I am able to make a living from it, absolutely.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine

When and how did your work start to get recognition on social media, and before social media, how were you marketing your work?

My work started gaining recognition when I started portraying African figures in 2012. But in 2017 on my Facebook page, ‘Sculpture Made in Ghana’, I posted an African woman with a pot which went viral with comments coming from people all around the globe. I think that gave me recognition on most social media platforms. Before social media, I was marketing through direct contact with various companies and hotels.

You have done some commissioned work of some notable figures, such as the late Jerry Rawlings and the late George Floyd. How was the response from their families, and what gives you satisfaction after completing a piece?

Their feedback was simply fantastic. It was such a heartwarming and overwhelming response, especially from George Floyd’s family, since the work was fully finished and presented. With this recent work-in-progress of the late Rawlings, the response coming in now is very encouraging, so when it is finished too I’m pretty sure the response will be fantastic as well.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

How big was the largest piece you have worked on, and how many days did it take you to complete it?

The largest piece I’ve worked on was a 26 feet by 44 feet mural at KOFCANS Hotel in Obuasi (Ghana), which took me almost 6 to 7 months to finish.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

What are your biggest achievements since you started working as an artist?

My biggest achievement since I started art is the fact that I have been able to stay in the field of sculpting despite all the challenges I have encountered. Today I look back and I am proud of how far I have come, and all glory goes to the Almighty God.

What obstacles do you face in your trade, and how do you overcome them?

Pricing of sculpture works here is quite challenging since a lot of people don’t know the materials used in finishing, but we try overcoming such challenges by producing quality works and educating clients on the type of materials used and their durability.

Besides patience, what other virtues has your trade taught you?

Sculpting has made me efficient at meeting deadlines; I may rate myself from 85 to 100 percent successful in that department.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

What advice would you give to a young African who would also like to become as amazing as you are at sculpting?

They should practice always, be hard-working, and make consistency and determination their key goals, because that is surely what is going to make you a good sculptor.

Check out more of Kumi’s amazing work on his Facebook page, Sculpture Made in Ghana.

Interviewed by Gugu Mpofu

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Creative Outlet

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa

I consider myself a street artist who is not afraid to use classical methods as well to create the perfect work of art.

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A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art, Portrait of Zimbabwean Musician, Jah Prayzah
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Hailing from Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, Terrance Tongai Mutemaringa never thought of art as something he would come to love. It is during his Primary education at Dudley Hall where he found his love for art through fellow artists who taught Mutemaringa the basics. Mutemaringa, popularly known as Mwanakomana, is a perfect example of surprising yourself, and seeing an unexpected road through.

“For me, art is a passion that has turned into a side-hustle.”

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa

How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been drawing since 2002, with my first actual masterpiece being in 2014 of the famous Che Guevara.

What kind of art do you specialise in?

I specialise in Graphite pencil drawings and silhouette art, but recently, I have been introduced to acrylic painting by Martin Gruber who is supported by the Austrian embassy.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art, Portrait of Zimbabwean music sensation, Winky D.

Were you trained in any way?

I never did art as a subject, but I stumbled upon individuals who taught me the various aspects of art, and I went from there. 

Are there any people in particular who were instrumental in your artistic journey thus far?

Special thanks to Gilbert Magugu for teaching me the basics of graphite sketching, Godknows Nemhara for teaching me how to shade, and of course my dad for supporting the talent financially – he purchased my first graphite pencil and drawing pad.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art, Portrait of the late great Zimbabwean Musician Oliver Mtukudzi

Would you consider yourself a classic artist or a street artist?

I consider myself a street artist who is not afraid to use classical methods as well to create the perfect work of art.

Is art a passion or hustle for you?

For me, art is a passion that has turned into a side-hustle. Shout out to Dave Gumbo, who was the first person ever to pay for my art back in 2017. His purchase made me realise that art can be a source of income.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art

In a perfect world, what work would you be doing?

In a perfect world, alongside my profession, Human Resource Management, I’d be doing the same art, but earning more money from it.

Considering how you got into art, have you ever had any issues with trained artists making you feel like you are not a real artist? 

The only issue I’ve had with trained artists is the one Picasso had, that of having limited imagination because of strict adherence to ancient norms and rules prescribed in the literature they use at whatever art college they attended. 

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine

Do you strictly do portraits?

I’m good at portraits using graphite pencils on paper, acrylic paintings, and oil paint on canvas. But as an artist, I’m obligated to explore my imagination, and strive to be more creative than yesterday.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art
A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art

How do people find you?

People can call or Whatsapp me on +263 713 501 506, on Twitter @Mwanakomana3, and on Instagram @mwanakomana.zw

Interviewed by Hazel Lifa

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