My name is Fortune Sitole I have painted since I was twelve years old. As early as the age of five, I made sculptures out of clay and cars out of wire without any idea I was making art. I am a self taught artist, with experience in mixed materials of clay, wire, and paintings on ostrich eggs, wood and canvas. My current pieces assemble mixed media to create townships of South Africa, showing every day life – playing ball, jumping rope, walking to school, washing, music and dancing. I use wood, sand, aluminum, oil and acrylic paint, sticks, bottle caps and other objects. I use all recycled materials and my work has been categorized as Folk Art, Raw Art, Township Art and Green Art. Townships in South Africa are slowly disappearing and my work documents their history. I primarily sell my work at art festivals around the country including cities in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Florida, New York and Massachusetts. People from all over the world collect my art.
I recently relocated from Venice, CA to a studio in West Oakland, CA.
I want to foster an awareness of the conditions suffered by South Africans, who create makeshift shelters by optimizing outside space and leftover materials – metal, tires, stones, etc., whatever they can find to build their homes.
Fashioning my work as homage to my ancestors, family and community, these pieces are a reminder of the day-to-day life in black South African townships. But shanties exist throughout the world and my art actually tells a story of the universality of poverty.
The characters in my scenes are about communities who have overcome adversity and have progressed into the 21st century. Complex dimensions allow a peek down streets at women washing clothes, children playing, girls braiding hair and wandering drunken fathers. Pictures of everyday events, ironically set against the backdrop of vivid dawns and dusks, reflect the darker issues of economic enslavement, discrimination, poverty and hardships.
Shanties are slowly disappearing from South Africa’s landscape. Redevelopment and investment begin to paint a brighter picture for the future of South Africans, an encouraging example for the people of the world who are experiencing poverty today.
Monday – Friday 10 am to 7 pm
Saturday – Sunday 11 to 5 pm
The Studio gallery is available to be rented out for parties and events. Artwork is also available for rent. E-mail or call us for details.
Volunteer Opportunities are welcome
Member of the Red Umbrellas Independent Artist Group