• Artist Alliance

    V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance

    The V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance is giving  young South African creatives the opportunity to showcase their talent and make their mark.


    The youth is the future

    The V&A Waterfront has been an ally of the arts for over 30 years and has made a long-term commitment to the arts industry in Cape Town. In celebrating and championing the richness of the talent, projects and people that embody the creativity and resilience of South Africa, the V&A developed the Artist Alliance incubator programme that is aimed at co-creating spaces and opportunities for young artists to freely explore their artistic perspectives. This will be done through guidance, knowledge sharing and mentor support to assist artists in turning their talent into marketable skills so theycan have sustainable careers.

    Initially, 10 people were to be selected as finalists, but after receiving an overwhelming number of applications of an excellent standard, the judges decided to settle on 12 creatives instead. The 12 creatives were chosen from fields such as Fine Art, Photography and Filmmaking, Fashion, Illustration and Design. These talented creatives will take part in a two-month training programme brought to you by the V&A Waterfront’s Artist Alliance Programme.

    The V&A Waterfront’s executive head of marketing, Tinyiko Mageza, says the vision is to provide a new platform for young artists, creators and creatives to find community, share insight and get support. ‘We have reached an important milestone in the Artist Alliance journey and want to thank all those who expressed an interest in being part of the initiative. The fantastic response to our call for entries confirms to us the importance of this programme and we can’t wait to work with the selected artists as they reach new heights in their creative pursuit,’ she says.

    Artist Alliance aims to support creative self-starters to get their careers off the ground with the right mix of practical advice and industry knowledge. The unique programme will not only teach business and marketing skills but also give the selected cohort access to mentorship from seven leaders within the creative arts industry: multidisciplinary artist Atang Tshikare; Celeste Arendse, the designer and founder of clothing label SELFI; artist duo Mrs + Mr Luke (Al Luke and Faatimah Mohamed-Luke); photographer Earl Abrahams; celebrated street artist Nardstar; and Storm Janse van Rensburg, the senior curator and head of curatorial affairs at Zeitz MOCAA, the largest contemporary African art museum in the world. 


    Meet the cutting edge collaborators 

    To help tell the Artist Alliance story, the V&A Waterfront has collaborated with five uber-talented and badass creatives and artists.


    Gcobisa Yako | Filmmaker, 25

    Gcobisa grew up in Gqeberha, but is currently based in Cape Town to garner more experience in the commercial sphere. They describe documentary as their one true love, and archiving as their soulmate. ‘Our experience in existing in both the rural and suburban areas forced us to realise the beauty the rural space holds despite its poverty-stricken reality – and thus developed our passion in exploring the beauty of areas where marginalised communities have created spaces for themselves,’ they say, adding, ‘Our aim is to create a cinema representation of the versatility and ordinary lives of black and brown South Africans.’



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    A post shared by Gcobisa Gee Yako (@gee_msft)


    Ishaarah Arnold |Graphic Designer and Illustrator, 27

    Cape Town-born Ishaarah is a mogul in the graphic design and illustration industry. After acing her studies at the University of Stellenbosch (and graduating cum laude), she was selected to be part of the prestigious Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme in 2016. This was an important moment for her, as it resulted in substantial media buzz about her talent. Another groundbreaking moment in her career was when she launched her very own fashion collection with retail company SHEIN.



    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Ishaarah Arnold (@ishaarah)


    Tandile Mbatsha | Performance artist, 25

    Tandile’s talents know no end. They fill various roles, including educator, performance artist, model, host, producer and choreographer-activist. Their career accolades are just as impressive: opening for FAKA at the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, performing at Performa 17 Biennial in New York, and producing a film on the virtual National Arts Festival curated programme, to name but a few. Their work, which includes ‘Intyatyambo Iyaphuma Engxondorheni’, focuses on breaking hegemonic notions of existence, and has been premiered in Gavin Krastin’s Arcade. 



    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Tandile (@tandile_mbatsha)


    Talia Ramkilawan | Fine arts, 25

    Cape Town-based Talia’s passion lies with rug- hooking wall pieces. She explains that her work is based on forging a sense of healing and community, especially with regards to the post-apartheid generation. ‘It deals with subverting the image of family trauma by healing through making, and by creating a presence. I have placed an emphasis on community and the ‘Indian experience’ – which is so important in cultural and art production – disrupting the linear narrative, exposing how traumas of the past resonate in the present.’



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    A post shared by Talia Ramkilawan (@taliaramkilawan)


    Robyn Keyser| Fashion Designer, founder of Artclub & Friends, 24

    Robyn founded the unisex label Artclub & Friends in 2016, a brand that allows and encourages people to express themselves without any judgement. ‘We are artists who work with artists to make clothes for artists. We’re here for the dreamers, the creators and the innovators. But beyond making beautiful clothes to inspire you to get up and chase your dreams, we exist to reconnect you to the profound process of making clothes.’ 


    Feature image illustration: Ishaarah Arnold

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