While walking through the streets of Langa, art murals encompass every wall expressing the creativity and vibrancy of the residents. Music litters the air as a musical accompaniment to the living art exhibition that is Langa. This colourful and bright community is one of Cape Town’s oldest townships, and is home to major local figures. Namely; the late Brenda Fassie, soccer star Thabo Mgomeni; boxer Nika Khumalo and South African wicket keeper Thami Tsolekile. Artistic talent within Langa is on the rise, and galleries such as Open HeArt Gallery have opened to provide young talent with the platform to share their work.
Nompumelelo “Mpume” Rakabe is a Langa-born multimedia Visual Artist, Art Teacher and Curator who is influenced by Contemporary African Narratives. She opened Open HeArts Gallery as a response to the lack of opportunity, education and platforms local artists were getting in Langa.
Despite Langa’s reputation for art, local artists have limited opportunities to showcase their work. The motive for Open HeArts Gallery was to change that narrative. It dedicates itself to showcasing contemporary South African art. Their mission is to provide a platform for emerging artists to promote their work both locally and internationally.
“We impact our community by collaborating with them on small projects. We provide employment opportunities and education on professional visual artists in their communities,” says Mpume. She has been a mentor to many aspiring artists through these projects. One of these is 14-year-old Litha Mayiya from Gugulethu. He has shared how he instantly knew he wanted to be an artist the moment he met Mpume. Under Mpume’s mentorship at Project Playground, Litha had the opportunity to showcase his work at a new exhibit space in the foyer of the Artscape.
TooMuchWifi drew inspiration from her work within the Langa community. She has made a significant impact in the lives of artists within the Western Cape communities. To support Mpume, TooMuchWifi has gifted her an Uncapped Line at the Open HeArts Gallery. They have also contributed to the Open HeArts Gallery’s exhibition at the nationally recognised Cape Town Arts Festival.
Mpume had this to say about the curation of the art exhibition; “This exhibition serves as a vibrant exploration of modern contemporary expressionism, delving into the black identity and spiritual realism. Through meticulous documentation of styles and techniques, the work aims to engage viewers by fostering a deep understanding of diverse art movements shaping our present. More than a display of artistic prowess, this exhibition aspires to be a catalyst for change within the local art scene.”
Open HeArts Gallery is a newcomer to The Cape Town Arts Festival. The exhibit will include both local and well-known artists. “The inclusion of both established figures and up-and-coming talents underscores a commitment to collaboration and mentorship, illustrating how experienced artists are dedicated to uplifting, improving standards, and creating opportunities for the next generation.” says Mpume.
The artists to feature are namely; Zanele Muholi, Lelethu Fundakubi, Anam Nxelewa, Yamkela Mandlevu, Masa Mara, Hlobile Maphumulo, Senzo Tiko, Phumeza Madikane, Sikho Mququ, Nkosinathi Chain, Lungiswa Joe, Zubenathi Filana, Lusanda Dayimani, Micke Buitendag, Mzimasi Funo, Luvo Khwehla.
Open HeArts Gallery provides young talent with a platform to visually express themselves. By doing so, Open HeArts Gallery hopes to educate the community, scholars and tourists about visual art entrepreneurship.