Inspiring Local Art
Absa L‘Atelier artist Collen Maswanganyi’s face is furrowed with concentration as he works meticulously on his latest creation. Hailing from a small rural village called Noblehoek near Giyani in the Limpopo Province, this soft-spoken artist harbours an incredible talent and passion for his work.
Following in the footsteps of his famous sculptor-father, Johannes Maswanganyi, Collen found his calling at an early age. After watching every move his father made, he went on to complete his Fine Arts degree at the Technicon Witwatersrand and to fulfil his dream of being a full-time artist.
Collen painstakingly crafts every single detail in his latest work – drawing inspiration from an event which is far-removed from his peaceful studio in Kaalfontein, Midrand. Collen is crafting one of nine trophies which will mark the winners of the 2007 Absa Cape Epic.
Maswanganyi's art usually incorporates issues relating to both the African traditions that he has been raised with and the modern world he lives in. While he depicts the life of traditional Africans - their dressing, lifestyles and customs, he also contrasts this with Africans participating in the modern, hi-tech world. “My art is about the old and the new” say Collen. “I look at life generally where I make sculptures dressed in African and modern ways. I look at technological development. My most popular works involve people or couples speaking on phones or people dressed modestly." His latest creation embodies just that.
“We were first exposed to Collen through the Absa L’Ateliur Art Competition where his artworks were exhibited in 2001 and 2002” says Matthew Ellenbogen, Absa Group Marketing Sponsorship Manager for the Absa Cape Epic. “We commissioned Collen to produce the Absa Cape Epic trophies because we wanted to give the winners something beautiful and uniquely South African. Something that embodied the spirit of the event – the Magical and Untamed African Mountain Bike Race, and something that would do justice to this truly remarkable achievement.
”The Absa L’Atelier Art Competition not only ensures South Africa's emerging artists recognition, but also affords them the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. Collen’s works are collected widely by individuals, corporates, museums and galleries. His aim is to exhibit internationally just like his father and other sculptors from his region like Jackson Hlungwani, Noria Mabase and others.