Times of Eswatini
Yebo Art Gallery partners with global marketplace
MBABANE – Yebo Art Gallery is a contemporary art gallery and design studio established locally.
It exhibits and aids local artists and has partnered with the world’s largest online art marketplace, Artsy.
Artsy is for art collecting. As the leading marketplace for art by the world’s emerging and established artists, they have made it easy for new and experienced collectors to discover, buy and sell art, which is something that local artists can rejoice from as their artwork will now be marketed on a grand scale. Besides the enormous exposure that local artists will now receive, they will also be in a position to get paid what they actually deserve from their art pieces. “Local artists are as talented as artists from abroad, but locals get paid way less for their work, but through Artsy, all that will change. We have had international buyers ask why the artwork that we sell is generally cheaper but of the same quality as artworks that are available everywhere else on the globe,” mentioned Yebo Art Gallery Director, Aleta Armstrong.
Yebo Art Gallery was established in 2010 by local artists Pete, Aleta and Dane Armstrong. “We are passionate about promoting the arts and enabling the growth of the creative economy by working together with the most talented professional and emerging artists in Eswatini. Yebo! has curated 45 exhibitions in its first decade of operation, working with over 80 artists from Eswatini and the rest of the African continent,” mentioned Aleta. She further mentioned that they collaborate with artists on product design, community art projects and creative workshops. Their vision for the next five years is to continue growing the creative sector of Eswatini while focusing on environmental and social issues using art as a tool to address issues like climate change, women’s rights and youth unemployment.
This partnership has already seen a number of local artists exhibit their work on the platform including Khulekani Msweli, Celimphilo Dlamini and Fela Dlamini, just to name a few. One of the mentioned artists, Msweli, has made a reputable name for himself and currently has nine art works on the online platform since the partnership. Msweli explores the space between the ever-present binary of tradition and modernity, creating artwork that is steeped in a commitment to addressing current affairs and pertinent social issues through this lens. Using installation, sculpture and photography as mediums, Msweli’s creative process is one that draws from his travels to Europe, the US, Middle East and the African continent, as well as his training in fashion design and innovative material use.
Through depicting elements of Swati traditional ritual, thought and custom,
Msweli re-contextualises these practices in a modern sphere, presenting his experience of a culture that lives in tension with the present and the past. When not creating, Msweli directs his design business Jerempaul, his restaurant Vuvulane Food Market and works within his community of Vuvulane to develop youth access and skills. His work has been shown at a number of galleries internationally and in South Africa, and has been part of a variety of creative projects in Eswatini.