Mdantsane-born Mandilakhe Rolinyathi, 33, is hosting a solo exhibition, Portraits of Diversity, at the Walter Sisulu University School of Fine Art Gallery which will still run until Friday.
Rolinyathi’s portraits are a collection of friends and acquaintances who have skin pigmentation disorders.
“I was different ever since I was young when it came to my drawings. I then decided when I was in grade 11 that I will pursue a my career in fine art.
“My work is always about raising awareness about things that are not noticed by society, especially living conditions that black people have to endure on a daily basis.
“ I started in 2017 this last yea with old wooden pallets as my canvas, which is where I depicting the daily struggles of a person who lives in a township,” said Rolinyathi.
The dismissed and scarred wood surface continued to resonate with his body of work as an extended metaphor for the viewer to reconsider the surface value of skin.
“I realised that people with skin pigmentation disorders are not recognised by the community and media. I then decided to meet people who have these conditions,” he said.
The nine portraits are were on sale for between R2,500 to R4,500 at the exhibition.
Rolinyathi said he looks up to the artist that he looked up to is Asande Khupe, who is now a well-known artist nationally.
“What I truly want is to build a studio for artists who want to pursue their career in art. I want to share my knowledge with upcoming artists and show our parents that there is a career in art,” said Rolinyathi.
He said his next body of work is would aim to show how street vendors made a living by selling their products.
“The women who sell along the road have to pay a certain amount in order to use the space as a place to sell. I want to showcase this in an artistic form, and also take art to the township and show the young people that they can test their skills in different ways”, he said.