Stanley Mawelela

Stanley was born in Zambia in 1973.  As he grew up, he liked to draw pictures of animals and famous people.  When his parents moved to Zimbabwe, he joined the art club at Allan Wilson Boys High School.  After high school, he enrolled in the National Art Gallery’s BAT which, at the time, was a prestigious art school run jointly by the British American Tobacco Company and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.  There Stanley benefited from exposure to many prominent international artists and lecturers including Vanessa Jackson from the Winchester School of Art, Steven Mumberson and Pheoris West.  Local prominent Shona painters and sculptors like Tapfuma Gutsa and Paul Wade also came to give workshops.  During his time at the B.A.T., Stanley also befriended and worked with Fasoni Sibanda, Luis Meque, Barry Lungu, Charles Kamangwana and Tapiwa Chiota and was inspired by their love for color and light.

Stanley returned to Zambia in 1993 where he befriended and worked with William Miko who was then president of the Zambia Arts Council.  William helped Stanley to include works in The Henry Tayali Visual Arts Centre and to display in the Intercontinental Hotel where other prominent Zambian painters were exhibiting.

Looking for greener pastures, Stanley traveled to South Africa where he struggled for months living in a small plastic shack in Section 1 Diepsloot.  The artist kept his sanity by walking around the squatter camp and sketching the day to day happenings there.  His local drinking hole was a shebeen made from sheet metal and a run away from all the sadness of this remote place.  This is where Stanley got his subject matter for his shebeen sketches and paintings.

The shebeen paintings became popular with the Artenative Art Gallery in Rosebank whose owner, Joanna, discovered Stanley’s uniques technique of rich texture and color. Stanley continued to show work at Artenative Art Gallery and also had numerous exhibitions there.