Artist: Sibonelo Chiliza
Title: Gasteraloe variegata
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Size: 460 x 400 mm
Edition size: 30
Numbered and signed by the artist, printed at the South African Artists' Press in Witrivier, South Africa.
Please note that all artworks are sold unframed.
Sibonelo Chiliza - 'Gasteraloe variegata'
Sibonelo Chiliza has the focus of a Buddhist monk. The sense of calm and dignity that surrounds him when he works and smoothly slips into the zone of creating induces 'unmonk' like envy in others. Born in 1979 in Mtwalume (near Port Shepstone) he recalls being an impressive wire-car maker, making unusual designs such as convertibles for his friends. Such was his skill that other kids stole some of his models. He also worked with river clay, building houses and sculpting faces. Cattle heads would be fired and then have thorns stuck in as horns and he and his friends would stage mock bullfights. In primary school, he excelled at drawing fish and other specimens in Biology.
During his second year of study at the Durban University of Technology (studying Textile Design and Technology); he was noticed by an ex-lecturer, artist and mentor Jean Powell, when his class was looking for textile design inspiration in the Durban Botanical Garden. It was the first time that Chiliza drew plants in colour and Powell saw the potential in his work. In 2004 he did a three-month internship at the botanical garden in Durban, which led to him meeting the well-known botanical artist Gillian Condy. In 2005 Sibonelo Chiliza did a six-month internship at the National Herbarium under Condy. This was converted into a one-year contract with the African Plants Initiative where he managed the scanning and databasing of the SANBI Pretoria art collection.
"I do botanical art because I can draw. I have been lucky; one door has opened another for me. At an exhibition at DUT, I saw that I could sell work and make money from my art". He adds that he is one of only a few men who do botanical art in South Africa (on the 2010 Botanical Biennale held at Kirstenbosch he was one of four men out of a total of fifty-one artists exhibiting) "possibly this is because men do not have the patience required!"