Artist Alliance: Meet the Graduates

Introducing the Artist Alliance Incubator programmes’ first cohort.
Initially 10 people were going to be selected but after receiving an overwhelming amount of applications of an excellent standard, the judges decided to settle on 12 creatives instead.
The 12 creatives were chosen from fields such fine Art, photography and filmmaking, fashion, illustration and design to take part in a two month programme.

Meet the Graduates


Thando ‘Mboma’ Phenyane

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Thando is a two-time Architectural graduate, currently completing his Masters at the University of Cape Town

In his art and illustration, the used object takes a slightly more ubiquitous position. He strongly believes in the beauty of trivial everyday objects when incorporated into conceptually driven visual concepts

The premise of my vocation as a design practitioner is to make accessible design ideas and interventions that are of benefit to communities who are deserving of these ideas.

To make beautiful things and to make things that work. In this, I find pleasure in putting forward prospects and the potential for agency in the way that users engage my work.

Pia Truscott

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Pia Truscott is a South African artist currently in her third year at Michaelis School of Fine Arts. She is also majoring in Anthropology.

She matriculated from Westerford High School in 2017 and did freelance illustration work. In 2019, she enrolled at Michaelis with printmaking and painting as her majors.

She has been a co-creator of a four-part series called Connecting through Creativity. These exhibition events have sought to celebrate and showcase the work of emerging artists.

Her combined love of anthropology and art creates an enthusiasm to unite people through art. Pia exhibited in Turbine’s recent ‘Paper’ exhibition (2020).


Nkhuwemi Kumwenda

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Nkhuwemi Kumwenda is a Malawian visual artist based in Cape Town. She is studying Fine Art at Ruth Prowse School of Art and she is in her final year.

Her passion is illustration in both digital and traditional media. She leans towards the realm of fantasy and whimsy with her work.

Nkhuwemi has always loved being immersed in another world through storybooks, novels and comics. This is what has pushed her interest in creating interesting and captivating ideas.

Nkhuwemi is always looking for ways to tell a story through her art. She is happy to share her art knowledge and is hopeful that the future will bring her many opportunities in her home country Malawi.

She plans to publish a number of comic books in the future as well as pick up animation skills.

Mbhali Manzini

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Mbhali Manzini is a 28-year-old designer and illustrator currently working in the design and advertising industry in Cape Town.

In 2015, she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Communication at The Open Window Institute. This is where she was scouted by several advertising agencies, which lead to her journey of working with brands such as Samsung, Standard Bank, Ricoffy, Boity Signature, Scorpion Legal Protection and Dickies to name a few.

Towards the end of 2017, Mbhali started posting her illustrations on social media which got positive feedback and people started demanding personalised illustrations, which inspired her to start her own brand, named ForMeByMe.

ForMeByMe is about self-love and appreciation in today’s world, where we are very quick to idolize celebrities and forget to appreciate, embrace and celebrate ourselves.

Her brand has personalised illustrated phone cases, t-shirts, portraits and laptop stickers.

She was selected as Design Indaba’s Emerging Creative and was nominated to showcase her work for Sasol Signature artist 2019.


Mikhailia Petersen

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Mikhailia Petersen is an Independent Practitioner and has worked as an Artist, Creative Director, Stylist and Stills Producer for over five years.

Since October 2018, Mikhailia has actively participated in the Association for Visual Arts Gallery’s installation programme.

Her work has been in print, a double cover of Afrostyle Magazine 2020 and has had a featured documentary editorial in Nataal Magazine 2019.

She featured on online platforms such as VICE/ID, Manju Journal, Fucking Young, Bubblegum Club and Also Journal.

Mikhailia was a top three finalist for the ORMS Mentorship Programme 2019 for photography. She has exhibited work at three group shows Eclectica Contemporary, Ava Gallery and GUS Gallery in December 2018.

Owethu Bobotyane

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Owam is a genderless, sustainable, fashion brand that offers a lifestyle of timeless gender fluid and inclusive vintage fashion options.

Owam has been collectors of vintage items for the longest time. They enjoy vintage clothing specifically because they feel that the craftsmanship and quality in the clothing is a unique selling point on its own.

They enjoy being able to have an item that is one of a kind that you can have in your closet for a lifetime, which also touches on the sustainability element that they are passionate about.

Owam enjoy using neutral tones that are easy to incorporate with the rest of your wardrobe made from mostly natural fabrics.

What sets us apart from their fellow vintage brands is that they offer a tailoring service with a quick turnaround timescale and styling service.


Nqaba Shakes Fatman Mbolekwana

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Nqaba is a visual artist and documentary photojournalist from the Eastern Cape.

He attended High School in Cape Town before relocating to Johannesburg, where he studied an advanced programme in photography at the Market Photo Workshop.

Since childhood, Shakes took on painting as an expressive practice to illustrate his surroundings and portray his inner state of mind and spirit. Over time, his work has featured acrylics, oil paints, and mixed media works of art.

He has been exploring the cognitive processes which flow through one's senses when holding a camera, composing a shot, and landing a frame. Beyond addressing social issues, Nqaba has been keen to dive into the underlying layers of power, identity, romance, fear, and faith as distinct yet inseparable dimensions of the large picture he strives to capture through photography.

In 2020 he was accepted into the Canon student development program held in France, Perpignan which formed part of the Visa pour L ’image festival, and was also accepted for a portfolio review with Vogue Italia as part of the Photo Vogue Festival held in Italy, but due to Covid-19 everything was done digitally and online.

Simthembile Twala

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Simthembile Twala is from Johannesburg, but based in Cape Town. He attended Market Photo Workshop. He completed his internship at Glowhire, where they taught him how to use equipment.

He also taught students how to use the studio lights and how to pack them.

Simthembile did a lot of assisting as a photographer and now he is comfortable enough to call himself a photographer.


Joshua Paulse also known as Jozua Gerrard

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Jozua Gerrard is a 19-year-old young creative who lives and works in Cape Town.

He has worked with multiple galleries including Art Bureau Collective, WorldArt, and The Southern Guild which have allowed me to enter the Cape Town art scene and begin exploring my potential and voice as an artist.

Currently, his work is mainly paintings, sculptures, and digital work. He is extremely interested in the design process and is slowly branching out into different facets to see how far his designs could go.

His work generally reflects his personal experiences in dealing with depression, anxiety, and his journey in discovering his sexual identity.

He created pieces for various exhibitions over the last year, including two solo shows, multiple group shows, and features on the art website Latitudes, Artsy, and First Thursdays Cape Town.

Zilungile Hanise

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Zilungile Hanise is a 29-year-old Designer who lives and studies in Cape Town. Born and raised in Mthatha, a small city in the Eastern Cape, she has always been interested in drawing and design from a young age and went to study Interior Design at Inscape Educational Group where she graduated in 2015.

While studying there, she discovered her love for photography, furniture and textile design and how all these elements formed part of the essence and aesthetic of spaces.

After she graduated in 2015, she went on a journey of discovery of how she could incorporate these forms of designs in building her career life and impacting people’s lives.

On the 24th of November 2020 she was part of a group of artists that exhibited their work in an exhibition hosted by Chosi with the help of Mandela Bay municipality to help re-ignite the art industry in Gqeberha. Zilungile is currently building her brand, Uhambo Concepts, which will focus on homeware design(photography, illustrations and textile design) and furniture design which will launch beginning of year 2022.


Richard Average

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Richard Average is a 25 year-old creative from Macassar, Somerset-West.

He specialises in illustration, but does so much more. Having graduated top of his design class at Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2016, Richard has been exploring the street culture that exists in Cape Town.

He was the 2016 Webprinter Creative Award Winner and since then he exhibited at the 2017 Design Indaba as one of the Emerging Creatives of South Africa, and also working full time for a year for one of the biggest retailers in South Africa in 2018.

He has done work with the well renowned brand, Puma South Africa. He’s art and design are inspired by his surroundings and the things that interest him, having a deep passion for music, mental health and fashion has all played a role in his creative process.

Richard is a passionate creative that believes in experimenting and having and believing in one self. The skilful and unrestricted use of colour in his creations is not only a reflection of his personality but also serves as an ode to the creative nature of Capetonian youth.

Kholosani Somhlahlo

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Kholosani Somhlahlo is a 29-year-old, living in Cape Town.

He is a fashion designer and obtained a qualification in clothing production in 2016.

He has been making clothes since 2015 for local clients. His brand is gender fluid and accommodates everyone.

Kholosani is eager to learn and understand more about the business side of fashion.