Michael Selekane

   
Michael Selekane
  Michael Tshepo Selekane is a South African visual artist and a beneficiary of Ausaid’s developmental funding to the Ifa Lethu Foundation.

Michael Selekane was born during the politically charged 1980s. He was born on the 25th of July 1986 in Uitvlag, a rural village based in Mpumalanga (“the place where the sun rises”). Michael was born to Catherine Selekane, a single mother and domestic worker. At birth, Michael was abandoned by his biological father who was made known to him only recently. His sudden introduction to his biological father was traumatic - often reflected in his work. Shortly after his birth, Michael was left in the care of his grandmother (“Gogo”) and uncles when his mother left Mpumalanga to seek domestic employment opportunities in Pretoria. From 1986 – 1991 he lived in Mpumalanga with his granny. In 1990, his mother married Mishak Selekane and moved to Mabopane, a township north of Pretoria, and in the Northwest Province. In 1991 she sent for Michael to join her in Mabopane and to start the next phase of his young life.
 

By this time, Michael was residing in Mabopane and due to the crippled education system and the intense poverty within this Northwest province his talent never received the nurturing it needed. His battle to survive in these conditions continues to haunt him. His first encounter with the arts came during his primary year school through an art competition. During his 6th grade Michael was chosen as one of the top ten students in an art competition. It was only later during the latter part of secondary schooling where Selekane began to cultivate his artistic skills via the generous assistance of a Zimbabwean artist who introduced Michael to the basics of landscape drawing.

Michael matriculated (with exemption) from Setumokhiba High School in 2006. In 2007 whilst working as a tracing agent for a debt collection service, he was introduced by a fellow art lover, Thabo Pitso, to the Tshwaraganang Arts School in Mabopane. Once he had secured the joining fee of R50-00, Michael was admitted to the centre. It was at Tshwaraganang, that Michael was exposed to various forms of visual art and it was then when he realised he had fallen in love with the oil paint medium and creating works of art by using mixed materials. As destiny would have it, the Ifa Lethu Foundation was planning to host art entrepreneurial training and development programmes, funded by Ausaid, at the art centre during the June 2007 vacation. Michael was fortunate to be one of those few selected to participate in the workshops after a rigorous selection process. So began Michael’s journey with the Ifa Lethu Foundation which has continued to nurture and grow his talent in this country and abroad.

Brought by Ifa Lethu, students were exposed to struggle era artists who mentored them during this workshop. Artists like Michael Mmutle, Ike Nkoana, David Phoshoko, Sello Malebye and Lefifi Tladi to name a few were amongst their lecturers. As part of its incentives to develop enthusiasm, Ifa Lethu ran a competition for participants. Michael secured first prize for painting and the 2nd prize in oral history of art. It was evident that this was a catalyst in his art career. Winning these prizes cemented his conviction to seek advanced training in art. In 2007 Michael exhibited his artworks at BHP Billiton’s head office in Johannesburg. Recognising the value of his skills, the latter agreed to auction his works at high end corporate events.

Michael was determined to further his passion for art. In 2008 he enrolled at the Tshwane University of Technology (Faculty of Arts) (TUT). Without the necessary enrolment fees, Michael approached the Ifa lethu Foundation for financial assistance. The Foundation agreed to assist Michael with the necessary tuition fees and went so far as to introduce him to their board of directors. He was extremely well received by the board and needless to say, they fell in love with his artworks. Michael is currently completing his diploma at TUT. In 2009 Michael secured a tender for mural painting at the Tshwaing Crater Museum. Michael was invited by the Ifa Lethu Foundation to exhibit his artworks at the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg. He successfully exhibited his artworks at the National Arts Festival (Grahamstown) -2009 and 2010 - where he was extremely successful. He has exhibited his artworks at various galleries in and around South Africa. Michael has been involved in facilitating workshops for the Ifa Lethu Foundation under the mentorship of Michael Mmutle. These workshops were in preparation of the National Arts Festival 2010. Michael has recently been accepted to exhibit his work at the prestigious Albany Museum in Grahamstown for 2011.

The Ifa Lethu Foundation is proud to say that through the support, love and encouragement shown to this creative and highly talented individual, we can bear testament to his growth and development over the last four years. It is clear that he has grown from a shy, insecure young man into a confident, mature, controlled and sought after artist. His growth and development in his works can be attributed to the guiding wisdom of his mentors and we must mention Michael Mmutle in particular. Sadly Michael Mmutle passed away in September 2010. He was like a father to Michael and he guided and instructed him in art and in life.

Michael Selekane now spends much of his time as a brand and youth ambassador for Ifa Lethu, preaching the value of entrepreneurship for creative practitioners and the strength of South Africa’s cultural production while providing inspiration to youth of the geographically isolated areas of the country. He will travel to Australia for the launch of the 2011 Home & Away exhibition where he will speak about the value of Ifa Lethu’s work. He will also address FTSE 100 CEOs in London in May 2011 at a major Fundraiser to be held by the Foundation.

In his works, Michael clearly captures the daily lives of ordinary South Africans. His works highlight the realities of living in a democratic South Africa. Social issues are highlighted by the subject matter which focuses on our new democracy.

The Foundation’s CEO, refers fondly to Michael as “Africa’s future Picasso.”

When asked about his involvement with the Ifa Lethu Foundation, he had the following to say. “Ifa Lethu taught me to recognise my own strength and to become more confident. They taught me how to become a professional artist and how to market myself. Since I became involved with Ifa Lethu, I have been able to sell my artworks successfully. The prize that I won in 2007 (through Ifa Lethu) motivated me to work even harder and I as even trusted to produce works for the Foundation’s stakeholders. I give thanks because I feel that my life has changed so much since I got involved with Ifa Lethu”.


KGOMO GA E KE E TLHABA MONG WAYONA
(“A COW WILL NOT ATTACK ITS OWNER).
ART EXHIBITION / SOLO EXHIBITION MICHAEL SELEKANE
Pretoria Art Museum, 14 March to 3 May 2015  - 
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Free Market-oil on canvas-60x80cm (2009)
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  Kalfontein-water color on paper 593x420mm (2008)
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AFRICAN JAZZ ON PEN DRAWING
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  African Jazz 2-Pen on Paper -593x42mm(2009)
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Destinations-mixed media on boad-20x60cm (2008)
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Diphororo tears of rain-mixed media on canvus-1779x1260mm (2008)
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  NEW WORK 2 MS DEC2010
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MS SCULPTURE CORRUPTION
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Michael's solo exhibitions "Destinations" at the National Science Museum, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, July 2011
     

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