Mentoring programme empowers artists

With backing from Advanced Capital, Art Investment has committed itself to helping under-privileged artists make a living out of their craft.

Reggie Khumalo is the Operations Director of Art Investment, the company he created with Hugo Knoetze, Group Executive CEO of the investments and asset management firm Advanced Capital. Their venture aims to manage underprivileged artists and open up new opportunities for them.

We spoke to Khumalo about this exciting project.

How did this project come to life?
I was working at an art gallery and Hugo from Advanced Capital came in. I tried to sell him a piece, which he didn’t like. He asked me to paint something and he liked it, so he bought it. I kept selling paintings to him until one day he suggested that we work together. We decided to form an art investment company where we can manage artists and promote them, focusing more on up-and-coming artists.

What’s the criteria for choosing the artists who become apart of the project?
We actually have a website where we have been marketing and advertising the business and how it operates. At some of the events we host, we get artists who come up to us and say they want to be part of the project. We look at their portfolio and also if they have the hunger and passion for what they do, then we invite them to be part of the project because we are looking for underprivileged artists who are very ambitious

How did you get Wakaba Mutheki on board?
He is one of the most established black artists and he is also internationally recognised, having worked with people like Oprah, Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela to name a few. I went to meet him in his house and I told him about the idea which he liked. He said that it’s something he had always wanted to do, to nurture other artists. It’s amazing to have him on board because he also comes from an underprivileged background and now he is a very successful artist.

You guys had a cocktail event where you sold art to corporate employees. How did you get corporate employees who usually don’t invest in art to invest in your artists?
Yes, you are right, they don’t believe in investing in art, but they do believe in mentorship. They believe in supporting South African artists, which is the whole idea behind Art Investment. We tell them it’s an investment because not only are they investing in local talent but they are helping us maintain these artists so that they don’t have to sell their work on the streets.

Some of your artists have been invited to exhibit internationally. Tell us about that.
We have been invited to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It’s a national exhibition where certain groups of people from different countries are invited to be part of it and we were one of the lucky people to be invited. They went to our website and they liked what they saw and that’s how we got an invite.

Can we expect other ventures from the company?
We want to open an institution dedicated to artists and also host a number of workshops across the country. Hopefully, one day we can venture into graphic design, but for now our main focus is the art investment mentorship project.