The 57th edition of Art in the Park started on Wednesday under the 111-year-old London plane tree avenue at the KZN National Botanical Gardens.
Bringing colour, culture, and creativity for another year to Pietermaritzburg, the event will run until Sunday.
One of the artists showcasing his work for the second time this year is Ntando Mngwengwe from Edendale.
Mngwengwe, who is self-taught, said that becoming an artist was not something he pursued, but it was something he always enjoyed doing.
“I didn’t choose art, it chose me.
“I can’t say that one day I woke up and decided I wanted to be an artist because it wasn’t like that. It’s just something that was in me.”
Mngwengwe, who learnt to create pieces by experimenting, said he uses anything at his disposal to create his art works. In his latest series he combines recycled tin cans, umbrellas and electric wires and fine sand.
“The experience at Art in the Park last year was very eye-opening and it gave me ideas for this exhibition. The experience has helped me to grow as an artist.”
Mngwengwe hopes that showcasing his art will open doors for other young and black artists who find it hard to enter the industry.
“I hope that my story and art will inspire other young people to focus on what they are good at and pursue it with their heart,” she said
Also showcasing his work is self-taught visual artist Keren Stanley.
He uses surreal photography to craft alternate worlds, rooted in reality, in which to explore the beauty and pain of human existence.
Exhibiting for the first time at the Art in the Park is Zakhele Hlabisa, who traveled the 300 km from Mtubatuba near St Lucia to the KZN Botanical Garden for the exposure and chances to network with other artists that Art in the Park gives him.
“My paintings depict cultural, religious and political issues. I try and paint things that directly affect the community like drought and also study the current political state of the country and depict that through my work.”
Hlabisa uses acrylic paint, coffee and ink on his canvases and also does pencil drawing portraits.
“I did not study art but in high school I realised I could draw.
“I only started taking my craft seriously in 2009 after visiting various art galleries and realised that being an artist could be a business and a voice.”
Hlabisa has showcased his work at various art exhibitions, including at the Hillcrest Art in the Valley and Durban KZNSA gallery.
Show times are 10 am to 8 pm on Thursday, 10 am to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday and 9 am to 4 pm on the Sunday.
Entry is R40, children below 12 enter free. School groups are also welcome by prior arrangement.