Artist helps bridge the gap for young talent

Solomzi Mjayezi is using art to develop the province’s youth.
SHINING A LIGHT: Solomzi Mjayezi is using art to develop the province’s youth.

Solomzi Mjayezi is using art to develop the province’s youth.

Growing up in eMambendeni, a village alongside the Cacadu River outside Butterworth, he began his artistic journey as a child, recreating daily activities using clay as a medium.

Recognising the need for a collaborative and supportive environment for artists, Mjayezi, 42, launched Artside Space in 2016 to bridge the gap for those with talent but lacking exposure to the mainstream economy.

“I am involved in a number of creative projects to help with developing communities,” he said.

“In East London, I have been involved in a project for three years, and then in 2021 I was approached by the Umtiza Festival.

“Artside Goods and Sounds combines all the disciplines, from poetry, live music, crafts, photography and visual arts.

“The main goal is to stimulate the creative economy of the Buffalo City municipality through the creative arts.”

Mjayezi has 23 years’ experience in graphic design, choosing this sector to create space for aspiring young artists who are struggling to find their feet.

He has had an impact on more than 800 students through art classes and educational programmes in local schools.

“I have created access for children in rural areas, as they struggle to get extra-curricular activities at their schools.”

Through his passion for the creative space, Mjayezi has employed 41 artists.

“What I have learnt is that when opportunities are granted for me to create space for other artists to grow, I make sure I create work for them.

“I have employees from Dutywa, Johannesburg, Gqeberha, East London, Qonce and Hamburg.”

Nominator Angela Makholwa described Mjayezi as a self-taught artist whose work had evolved over the years into a multidisciplinary creative practice.

“Under his leadership, Artside Space has provided invaluable support to the community in the metro and surrounding rural areas.

“His leadership has fostered a team of young, dynamic and socially conscious individuals dedicated to capacitating communities.”

Makholwa said Artside Space’s programmes were aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on quality education, gender equality, economic growth, and good health and wellbeing.

“Under Mjayezi’s visionary leadership, Artside Space has become a cornerstone of the arts community in the Eastern Cape.

“His commitment to fostering creativity, providing opportunities and addressing socioeconomic challenges makes him a deserving candidate for Local Hero recognition.

“Through Artside Space, Mjayezi has brought joy, inspiration, and hope to people in BCM and surrounding rural areas, making a lasting impact on the lives of many.”



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