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Arty Xaba says it through art for children at Malacca Road

The talented artist is now looking forward to working with other NPOs and businesses to grow his hustle.

A DURBAN North non-profit organisation, The Seed Fund, is hoping to create job opportunities for a talented local artist who recently collaborated with them to brighten up the early childhood development centre (ECD) they run in Malacca Road Informal Settlement.

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Principal of the ECD Charlene Steytler said she discovered Siya Xaba’s work on the Durban North Residents Facebook group where he advertised his skills as an artist.

“I visited his Facebook page and was so impressed with what I saw. I knew immediately that I had to ask him if he would like to paint on the ECD container in Malacca Road. The Seed Fund is also about empowering people, so making the decision to support Siya was not a difficult one,” she said.

Speaking to Northglen News, Xaba said he has always been good at art since he was a primary school learner. He grew up in Pietermaritzburg where he attended school, and it was there that a teacher spotted his talent.

“I was fortunate to go to a school that offered art as a subject. When I got to high school, I chose technical drawing, or TD, as we called it, because I wanted to study architecture, but a teacher told me that ‘she saw something in me’ and advised me to stick with art. That teacher was right because I matriculated with an A in art,” says Xaba.

One of the containers that Siya Xaba painted.

“Getting the opportunity to paint beautiful pictures at the ECD has been an amazing experience,” says Xaba.

Steytler presented him with a concept, which encompasses the ECD’s vision for creating a safe and fun learning space for the children of Malacca and surrounding areas, and the artist certainly delivered. Xaba then added flowers and bees to the idea, making it a masterpiece for the children in the community.

“The pictures painted are of happy, carefree children having fun and just being children. The hands of the children are that of the learners at the ECD. I traced their hands and then attached them to the painting on the container. It was really an empowering experience,” he said.

The highlight of the project for Xaba was the children and the Malacca community watching and supporting him as he painted. It was also the curiosity of the little ones that warmed his heart as they would ask him questions about what he was painting each day.

“I painted the containers over a weekend – from a Friday to a Sunday – and I had quite an audience. The children were so interested in my work and kept asking ‘Malume, Malume (Uncle), what’s that? What are you doing now?’ It was enlightening to see the interest as I feel every child has an artist in them or some sort of creativity. It’s just that, sometimes, that talent is not tapped into,” he said.

If you would like to contact Xaba or view his work, visit his Facebook page: XArt03 or Instagram: siyaxaba0303.

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