April 30, 2014
World Design Capital Wednesdays: Nkanyezi Gallery opens at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town
Fazielah Williams has lived in and loved her Mother City since birth. Having lived all over the Peninsula during her childhood, she now calls the picturesque City Bowl home and likes nothing more than watching the sun set over Table Bay from the window of her apartment.
A lover of the arts and proud Cape Town fanatic, Fazielah began her writing career by spending many hours as a child conjuring fantastical stories that featured independent heroines from faraway lands who saved the Prince instead. This Capetonian princess has enjoyed stints as a magical arts PRO and TV publicist before finding her calling as a travel writer.
When not waxing lyrical about the Fairest Cape’s most loved attractions and activities and embarking on unexpected adventures, Fazielah can usually be found taking in a show at one of the City’s fabulous theatres.
What do you get when you combine the Mother City’s most opulent accommodation with an up and coming designer township project? Why, the Nykanyezi Gallery, a collaborative initiative between the world-renowned Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel and World Design Capital (WDC) 2014’s Maboneng Township Arts Experience, of course!
Launched at an exhibition opening on Thursday 24 April, 2014, the Gallery is hosted in the area between the hotel’s ever-popular Planet Bar and Restaurant, and features amazing artwork by talented artists from various South African townships, including Gerald Thabatha, Mphathi Gocini, Patrick Holo, Boyce Magandela, Lindile Magunya and Luthando Lupuwana.
What’s in a name?
Meaning ‘star’ in Zulu and Xhosa, Nkanyezi is an apt name for this gallery that has brought together the Mount Nelson, Cape Town’s most iconic hotel, and the Maboneng Township Arts Experience, which is a one-of-a-kind project that empowers and inspires township communities through the arts.
As an official WDC project, Maboneng Township Arts Experience, headed up by Siphiwe Ngwenya, has turned over 70 township homes into art galleries, providing artists from townships with a platform to exhibit their work. It offers visitors and locals a rare glimpse into township life.
“By establishing the Nkanyezi Gallery and opening our city-based ‘home’ to some of our townships’ most talented artists, we can help to exhibit their art to local and international guests, who may otherwise never have the opportunity to see their work,” says Xavier Lablaude, General Manager of Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.
Siphiwe Ngwenya, Head Curator of the Nkanyezi Gallery and the Director of The Maboneng Township Arts Experience, adds: “There’s always been a large cultural gap between the township and the city. We are mending this through the arts with one of the most alternative experiences ever – and the Nkanyezi Gallery is an important part of that.”
The important details:
I could easily spend every day of my life lounging at the Nellie, as the Mount Nelson is affectionately known, and now I have even more reason to with these inspirational works of art. Here are few images of the gallery opening:
Editor’s Note: This article has been written based on information supplied by Gabrielle Palmer, Public Relations Manager, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel