Nando's Art Initiative Unveils New Art in KZN Stores  - StartUp Magazine South Africa
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Nando’s Art Initiative Unveils New Art in KZN Stores 

In September 2021, Nando’s Pinecrest in KwaZulu Natal unveiled a poignant art piece – a charcoal drawing by artist Nkoali Nawa that commemorates the African spirit in the face of adversity.  The unrest in July 2021, which saw shops looted, buildings burnt, and people and communities affected by outbreaks of violence, was followed by recovery, rebuilding and restoration. 

Nkoali, who is part of the Nando’s Art Initiative in partnership with Spier Arts Trust, was commissioned to create artwork using a charcoal medium for six Nando’s restaurants that were affected by the unrest.  The idea behind choosing charcoal artwork is to show that beauty can rise from ashes. 

The first artwork was placed at the Pinecrest restaurant after it reopened, and the remaining five pieces were unveiled last week and have found a home at the Berea Centre, Umlazi, Empangeni, Umgeni and Church Street restaurants.  Each artwork carries a message of empathy and hope. It is a gentle reminder of what the has country experienced and highlights the resilience of South Africans.

Nando’s relationship with Nkoali is long standing and in 2018, he was part of the Nando’s Creative Exchange programme which saw him exhibit his work at AVA Gallery in Cape Town and at the Basha Uhuru Festival in Johannesburg.  The Nando’s Art Initiative was established to shine a spotlight on emerging artists and the brand remains one of the greatest contemporary art collectors with well over 21 000 pieces hanging in their stores around the world. 

“In addition to the artworks reminding us of the difficulties faced, they also show the versatility and resilience we have as a country. In times like this we need to collectively look at the high rate of unemployment and poverty, and ask ourselves, what can we do to help,” says Peet Opperman, KZN General Manager.

Nando’s GM Marketing: Brand Strategy and Communications, Justine Cullinan says Nkoali was commissioned to create the pieces specifically because of his unique ability to bring through the human spirit in his work. “His comprehensive body of work is enlightening.  The symbolism tells a story through its beautiful simplicity with charcoal and evokes a range of emotions. We hope these art pieces will be a reminder of what we can achieve through sheer determination.”

About the Nando’s Art Initiative 

Nando’s, in partnership with Spier Arts Trust, has been investing in art since 2001 and in the last 20 years has grown its art initiative to include five different artist development programmes. Our programmes provide career development support to more than 350 artists on a regular basis and our art is displayed in 1200 restaurants in 24 countries around the world. We have more than 21000 artworks in our collection, making us the largest private collector of contemporary South African art in the world. 

We work together to develop art programmes that nurture and develop Southern African artists, enabling them to take the next steps not just in their art practice, but in their careers as professionals.

About the Nando’s Creative Exchange Programme 

The Nando’s Creative Exchange – which is part of the larger Nando’s Art Initiative – was established in 2011 to recognize emerging, Southern African fine artists who demonstrate exceptional ability. The programme offers selected artists exhibition and mentorship opportunities, sponsors art materials and gives artists the opportunity to have their work translated into a different medium in collaboration with the Spier Artisan Studios. All of this is designed to develop the artists’ professional practice. 

The Creative Exchange is marketed and communicated through various channels – both internally at Nando’s, as well as to creative communities and the wider public. 

Participants are encouraged to create a comprehensive body of work which is put up for sale to the public at a group exhibition held at the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival as well as at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town and online, through Latitudes.  

About Nkoali Nawa

Nkoali Nawa started out as a gold mineworker, before moving into art-making. In doing so, he obtained a diploma and degree in fine art from Technikon Free State. His drawing and painting works depict the daily struggles of impoverished South African communities, the harsh working conditions of miners, as well as the intergenerational distress caused by the colonial structure of migrant labour systems.

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