The mission to depict Free State art in a whole new dimension has seen Bloemfontein’s Victor Geduldt carving his name among South Africa’s visual arts greats, writes Chamu Wilson.
The 45 year old artist, whose works have been exhibited at most of the well-known art galleries across the country in such areas as Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, Grahamstown, Cape Town as well as several art galleries in Johannesburg on numerous occasions, believes there is no better way to paint than to draw inspiration from the diverse and unique cultures of the different ethnic tribes of South Africa.
According to Geduldt, his work mirrors the diverse and rich cultures and heritage of the people of South Africa.
“I do basically all forms of painting and even abstract but my main focus is telling the story of the different cultures. I like to stay local because I believe we have beautiful cultures and colours and languages. I believe in telling the world about our heritage and our cultures. It’s quite beautiful painting my own people, our own textures and our own stories. Nothing compares to that,” explained a passionate Geduldt.
He recently took part in a one-artist exhibition titled “Chasing the Dream” at the Gallery on Leviseur in Bloemfontein from August 18 to 08 September before taking part in another exhibition from 01 – 07 September at Bloem’s Best Artists exhibition at Kotze Gallery.
Geduldt believes there is so much that he can do to promote art in his hometown of Bloemfontein and the country as whole. Having been a part of the arts industry for over 30 years, the paint artist can be trusted to have garnered vital experience along the way to impart to the next generation – something that lights up Geduldt’s face with passion when he talks about it.
“I am pretty much a self-taught artist but I got a lot of inspiration from my uncle who used to paint and sell his pieces to get money for beer. I started painting even before I started school. When I went to school, my teacher noticed my potential and took me to a grade 5 teacher who taught me how to paint with charcoal and later oil paint.
“So in the same way as I was assisted, I want to help young artists realise their dreams too,” said Geduldt.
While his errand into the arts world was an arduous one, Geduldt never gave up hope. Coming from an environment where his mother was a single parent, the young artist had to take a decision to leave school at grade 11 level so that he could find a job to assist in raising the family. This also meant he had to give up painting as he his work took up most of his time.
After the ‘forced’ sabbatical, Geduldt resumed painting following his move to a finance services company where he now had some time to nurse his passion. And soon the paintings began to pile up as Geduldt could not sell them!
“I was a shy kind of guy so I could not go out to sell my paintings. My mother used to tell me that I needed to sell them but I always told her not to worry as I would do that some day. It took one of my friends to take the paintings to an exhibition at CRC Church. I only realised that it was actually a big exhibition with big names when my friend forced me to attend.”
That was the eye-opener for Geduldt as he managed to meet some established artists and even sold three of his paintings. It motivated him to come out of his shell and force the world to look at life through his paint brush.
He even went on to exhibit at the Mangaung Arts and Cultural Festival (Macufe) where he managed to sell some of his works to tourists from the Netherlands. Buoyed by that knowledge that his work was good enough to be appreciated by people from other countries, the artist began entering competitions such as the Shoprite Strokes of Genius in 2007 which he won the first prize.
“That prize further boosted my confidence and motivated me to work even harder. I then took part in the Sasol competition in 2007 and the Sanlam competition the following year. I decided to take a break from competitions and went to Cape Town where I painted and exhibited at different art galleries in such places as Hout Bay and Stellenbosch,” revealed Geduldt.
He urges the youth to shy away from violence, substance abuse and gangsterism – ills that have plagued many townships across the country.
“Instead of having a gun or a knife, get a pen, a mic or a brush to get rid of the negative energy bottled inside you. That way we can be able to build a better society.”