YOUNG ARTISTS DEVELOPED AS EMERGING EXPORTERS
A group of Chicago based art buyers have been touring the Eastern Cape in search of talented artists to showcase their artwork at an exhibition at the Guichard art gallery later this year.
Andre and Francis Guichard met with local township artists across the region who specialize in fine art ranging from painting, sculpture and beadwork.
The aim of the two-week trip, which was initiated and arranged by Tradepoint, has been to expose young local artists to the opportunities offered in the United States art market and to develop them as emerging exporters. 40% of the Chicago population are of African origin and the Guichard are keen to strengthen their linkages back to the continent.
“The artwork that we have seen has been above my expectations in terms of quality and diversity”, said Andre Guichard.
“The artists use various mediums and themes to capture the social issues in their art pieces which they are using to uplift the Eastern Cape,” said Frances Guichard.
Tradepoint identified a need to create an international appreciation for local products to assist export ready businesses and products with export potential for global trade.
David Hamer, Manager of Tradepoint SA Nelson Mandela Bay said, “This visit from Chicago is just the tip of the iceberg. Local fine artists produce work of a standard that ranks high on the world stage.Their work is immensely appealing to international buyers and if Tradepoint can facilitate that process, enabling local artists to exhibit their work and by doing so raise the profile of South African art, then it can only bode well for the future in terms of both the art work and international trade.”
“Tradepoint enabled us to immerse ourselves in the culture of the Eastern Cape in a way which wouldn’t have been possible if we had plannedthis trip on our own,” said Andre Guichard. “We are looking forward to the reaction of the US audience when they feast their eyes on the talent from Nelson Mandela Bay.
The trip culminates in the selection of 16 local township artists who will have selected works from their art pieces exported to Chicago for an exhibition in September. The exhibition in September will include up to four township fine artists from the Eastern Cape who will represent different artistic disciplines such as sculpture, collage and paint, both representational and expressionist. The art will depict traditional, activist and contemporary township life or integrated South African life.
Trade Point SA
Trade Point SA is an organization initiated by the United Nations to increase the participation of small, micro and medium businesses in global trade. Business members with the potential to export are trained and supported through a variety of programs to take their products onto the world stage and become successful exporters. Trade Point SA Nelson Mandela Bay has over 100 member firms and is supported by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape Development Corporation, SEDA and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber. David Hamer is the Tradepoint Manager based at the offices of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
Andre Guichard is a self taught artist who had the privilege of being exposed to art through the eyes of his father who painted throughout his childhood. He was also influenced by his cousin, the late great outsider artist, William Dawson.
Andre Guichard has been painting professionally from the age of 19 years old. Through the Gallery Guichard, Andre gives people a chance to express their feelings with art but also to be able to show off their skills. So not only has he given them a chance to look at other famous art collections of any other great artists but opens doors through development and partnership.
In 2010, Guichard was commissioned to create an original painting for music and advertising mogul Steve Stout (Jay Z’s best friend and current business partner). Guichard was nominated to create an original ornament for the 2008 White House Christmas Tree. One of Guichard’s Jazz images “Jazz from the Soul” is the 2006 Jazz Unites, Inc. 25Th Anniversary Jazz Fest Heritage logo. Another one of Guichard’s Jazz images, “Hot Trumpeter” was the 2002 Chicago Jazz Fest logo. Guichard has a permanent installation in the Bronzeville Jazz McDonald’s featuring six images from the Jazz Series. Guichard was one of a selected group of artists chosen to display work in the O’Hare International Airport, International Gallery Exhibition entitled Heaven and Earth, October 2000 through October 2001.
Frances Guichard is Director of Administration for the Chicago Department of Public Health – Food Protection Program, where she oversees a staff of 87 employees. Frances is also responsible for the swimming pool and spas, water vending and shellfish programs and directs the Food Service Sanitation Certified Managers Training Program. She has participated in several shows in Chicago, as well as Philadelphia and New York working with dealers from around the world.
Contact: David Hamer
041 373 1122
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Local talent is to be showcased at Gallery Guichard in Chicago later this year. From left to right are Kanya Sizani – artist and curator, Banele Njadayi – artist, Chicago curators Frances and Andre Guichard. Photographer: Sandra Pow Chong