Artists Assembling!

Assemblage studios

It’s not easy to make it in the world of art and design. It takes talent, determination, hard work, and a radical dose of self-belief.

Put all these ingredients into the roll of the dice and you might just get a windfall. Last year The African Arts Trust awarded bursaries to five potential stars of the art world and from April 2013 to this March they’ve been working like men and women possessed.

It all comes to an inspirational conclusion this Wednesday 26 February with the launch of the exhibition End Point hosted by the Assemblage . The five up-and-coming artists under scrutiny;  Zwelethu Machepha, Bongani Njalo, Phumulani Ntuli, Ross Passmoor and Gina Van Zyl D’Oliviera. These brave souls will all subject their offerings to the public.

So, after all the hard work they’ve put in, who better to introduce their upcoming work, and what the support of The African Arts Trust has meant to them, than the artists themselves. Here is what they had to say about their work and the experience:

Bongani Njalo – 

 ‘The bursary enabled me to realise some of the works I envisioned – with the further opportunity for collaboration with other artists. Through having a studio at Assemblage, I have engaged with the broader arts community of Johannesburg, a city I’m new to and still fairly unfamiliar with.’


Gina Van Zyl De Oliveira –

My approach to painting can be divided into two parts: the exploration of paint as a medium – and as an engagement with narrative and allegory around discourses on the imaging of violence and sexuality.

I work with amorphous images using multiple layers and a mixture of mediums to create meaning. My work process involves both the disruption of surface material and imagery to convey the disruptions and seeming fluidity in the relationship between sexuality and violence.  


Ross Passmoor

Being at Assemblage has given me more space to produce larger work. This has allowed me to challenge myself and push my chosen mediums to their limits. Also there are other artists who I can share ideas with and learn from. Working around other artists has the benefit of creating some competitiveness which drives us all to work harder.

Architectural forms make up the subject of my recent work. The subjects range from prominent structures to the seemingly inconsequential. The structures hold specific meaning to me as totems marking the space I live in.

Ross Passmoor

Zwelethu Machepha

 I suppose, above all, I am interested in discovering my ability as an artist to reflect on the experiences of personal and cultural representation of the self.

My intention is to raise the question of what will emerge. For some of us who have farsighted intellectual, social and other desires, experimentation is a necessary tool for the knowledge of our ambition. Other sources of knowledge and our goals and possibilities can then be constantly expressed in this way.


Phumulani Ntuli –

‘This environment at The Assemblage channeled me to produce work constantly, to interact with other artists and with art enthusiasts. The space nurtured notions of collaboration and community; and this, in turn, accelerated my artistic practice. The experience encouraged me to be a more organised and a professional artist.’

 Phumulani Ntuli


The End Point exhibition will also launch The Assemblage’s new year art sale where a selection of artwork will be on sale for less than R1500. The Absa Gallery curator, Dr Paul Bayliss, will give a talk at 18:30 and the resident Assemblage artists will also be present. This is a wonderful opportunity for art lovers to come together, build up their collections on the cheap, and celebrate the achievements of the next generation of artists. Sounds like a great excuse for a party, yes?

The Assemblage is celebrating with live music by the fabulous “DJ Unseen”, a sophisticated glass of wine, or two, and, naturally, some delicious pizzas provided by yours truly. So head on down this Wednesday for a nice hot slice of culture.


Date: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014

Time: 17:30 – 20:30 (The exhibition End Point will be opened at 19:00 by Assemblage)

Venue: Two by Two Art Studio, 41 Gwi Gwi Mrwebi St, Newtown

Directions: can be found here

The exhibition will run until 7 March 2014

To view please contact or

For any further information please contact: