Artist Mbali Tshabalala showcases at two art fairs in a single week

AMONG A plethora of artists featuring in the 2023 iteration of the much anticipated Open Studios Joburg and RMB Latitudes art fair showcasing between May 25 – 28, is versatile Malvern-raised Mbali Tshabalala – a prominent figure attached to Asisebenze Art Atelier, a Joburg inner city galleryspace, artist studios and art dealership.

A BA in Fine and Applied Art graduate from the Tshwane University of Technology, Tshabalala is a mixed media artist – who through mediums straddling photography and printmaking such as paperlithograph she explores recurring themes exploring roles black women occupy in society – and curator who has previously collaborated with David Krut Projects for the 2019 Latitudes Art Fair.

Expounding upon her signature approach, in a 2022 news publication, in which she places herself as her own subject depicted in varying modes donning a blanket, Tshabalala is quoted thus: “I wanted to use the blanket as a provocation and an interrogation of the roles black women carry with society, particularly in terms of expectations.”

Her work has been displayed at the Pretoria Art Association, Constitution Hill, North West University Gallery and Johannesburg Art Gallery amongst others. She is also the founder of the Collective UNTITLD, Anecdotes Gallery.

At Open Studios Joburg, Tshabalala’s craft will be on show along with those of Asisebenze fellow creatives, who number no less than 15, and complemented by 115 artists and makers from 11 studios/spaces ranging from Lillian Road Studios in Fordsburg, Rand Club & Bridge Books to Play Braamfontein – among illustrious others.

The three-days at the tail end of May will translate into a busy period for her as she’s also slated to feature in an all-female show at the RMB Latitudes Fair at Shepstone Gardens – which runs parallel to the Open Studios Joburg art fair.

An indoor-outdoor art experience with a focus on discovery and development RMB Latitudes 2023 edition will give prominence to sculpture, as well as solo and duo artist presentations. In addition to traditional art fair booths, galleries, curators and artists will be encouraged to create their own unique exhibition spaces, in response to the unexpected and intimate venue.

Participants range from Joburg CBD-based studios such as August House and Bag Factory Artists’ Studios to Lorentzville located Victoria Yards and attendees to both fairs will have a shuttle service at their disposal. The service is designed as a hop-on-hop-off shuttle with two loops – in a westerly direction, and an easterly direction, allowing visitors to seamlessly move from space to space.

Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, the shuttle service will operate from every venue from 10:30am, with shuttles departing every 20 minutes. The last shuttle will depart from its space at 16:00 and will complete one loop. After that, guests will need to make personal use of e-hailing services. On both days a shuttle will connect to the RMB Latitudes Art Fair at Shepstone Gardens.

On Saturday, Transwerke Studios in the Constitution Hill Precinct will be the hub for transport to the Fair, and on Sunday, the shuttle will run from Living Artists Emporium in Bertrams.

Open Studios Joburg 2023 is made possible through sponsorship from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa and Nando’s, among a roster of others.

For additional information, Sara Hallatt, the Director of META Foundation (a non-profit entity which offers visual arts programmes for artists based at August House) may be contacted on: 084 411 2871/

Image Jacob MAWELA (Mbali Tshabalala seen expounding around her studio pending a walk-about at the launch of Open Studios Joburg).

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