Yamkela Mandlevu

Yamkela Mandlevu, a visual artist from Cape Town, is a rising star in the South African art world. Specializing in charcoal, Yamkela’s monochromatic pieces exude a striking interplay of light and shadow, creating captivating visual narratives. He embarked on his artistic journey in 2022, making an immediate impact with his debut exhibition at the Open Heart Gallery. His work has since graced the walls of prestigious galleries such as the Youngblood Gallery and 16 on Lerotholi Gallery, where he has become a prominent figure in showcasing contemporary African art.

Selected as part of the City of Cape Town’s Emerging Artists Program for Fame Week Africa 2023, Yamkela has also exhibited at the Cape Town Arts Festival 2023. His remarkable talent and unique vision earned him the distinction of being the youngest artist ever to exhibit at the Investec Cape Town Arts Fair 2024.

Artist Statement

My art is an exploration of the depths of human emotion and the complexities of the African experience, rendered through the evocative medium of charcoal. The monochromatic palette I employ serves to accentuate the contrast and texture in my work, allowing me to delve into the nuances of light and shadow. This choice enhances the emotional impact of each piece, creating a dialogue between the artwork and the viewer.

Working with 16 on Lerotholi Gallery has been a pivotal part of my artistic journey. This collaboration has enabled me to engage with a broader audience and to be part of a community that celebrates and uplifts African art and culture. My pieces, such as “Chronicles of Africa” and “Unity,” are deeply rooted in themes of identity, resilience, and pride. Each artwork is a testament to the rich cultural heritage and the enduring spirit of the African people.

Through my art, I aim to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of our shared humanity. I strive to push the boundaries of my medium, continually evolving as an artist and seeking new ways to express my vision. My goal is to create powerful visual narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide, inviting them to experience the intricate stories and emotions captured within each stroke of charcoal. My works are not only about cultural heritage but also highlight the positivity and resilience that characterise the African spirit.

2005 -
Nationality: South African
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