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CHARLES MALEKA
1961- 2005 born in Johannesburg
 

Maleka, a Northern Sotho by descent, died tragically in a car accident at the age of 44 at the end of 2005. Maleka attended school in Soweto in Johannesburg in the 1970's and studied at the African Art School in Witbank. In 1976 at the age of 15, he was one of the 20 000 children who took part in the protest march against a Bantu Education Department regulation that Afrikaans be used as one of the languages of instruction in secondary schools. In the same year Maleka left South Africa as a political refugee. Maleka went to Kenya, where he finished his A levels and in 1979, aged 18, he went to France where he studied Social Science and Psychology.

In Paris, Maleka was made aware of older South African artists that had settled in Paris, people like Ernst Mancoba who died 2002, and Gerard Sekoto before he died in Paris in 1993. Maleka was still a young man and the advice of older South African artists such as Mancoba helped broaden his understanding of art. In a interview I had with Maleka in 2005 before the Encompass exhibition at The Cape Gallery, Maleka said of these older artists:

“They were my elders, it was a blessing for me to come into contact with these artists. They encouraged me to carry on with my studies.”

I was overjoyed to get an email from Veronica Maleka, Charle’s German ex-wife just before the exhibition opened. She explained how she met him in Aachen Germany and they were married in 1989. Veronica says of Maleka:

“Charles always painted to the sound of music. According to his mood he mostly listened to classical music or jazz. Being asked about the colours in his paintings because his paintings are very colourful all the time, he always spoke about the "colours of life" and that "colours are people, sentiments and music". He wanted the people to understand each other and correspond in a harmonious way like the colours in a painting or the notes/sounds in a piece of music do. Charles was always in search of new ways of expressing himself. That can be seen in the developing use of material and colours in his paintings as well as his different projects as a musician and a band leader.”

Maleka divides his work into two different styles. His black and white style which is done in charcoal and a colourful style that developed later. In the black and white style Maleka tended to be more structured and figurative. He reflects that his early politized work was "partly angry and partly sad". Later a new colourful style emerged, in this he used spontaneous free brush strokes done in bright aquarelle on paper. In this style Maleka leaves behind the one point perspective of his representational art and makes use of many view points through his abstraction. In the interview I had with Maleka he said he purposefully did not mix one colour into another. Together the pure colours harmonise, they interact and affect each other. Maleka said in the interview I had with him “I let my brush free to the music. I let it dance and respond to the instruments.”

Veronica also tells us Maleka was a remarkable painter, a lyrical poet and a dignified percussionist. The then ambassador of the South African in Bonn, Mrs. Lindiwe Mabuza, became a great admirer of his art. She opened one of his last exhibitions here in Aachen. Veronica also mentions their daughter, who went to Barcelona with her school this summer, confirmed that Charles`s name is mentioned on a memory board in the Picasso museum as a member of a group exhibition in 1984.

Even though Maleka has died we can still get to know the man through the art he has left behind. Maleka’ artwork does not have to be understood on a literal level. The viewer must simply allow the harmony of colour and form to resonate and talk to them.

compiled by: Kitty Dörje

Bibliography for abouve insert:
Interview conducted with Charles Maleka in 2005.
Email received from Veronica Maleka on Fri 05/01/2007 21:16
Miles,E.1997.A story of early black artists.South Africa, Human Rousseau.
Ernst Mancobe at Home 2006, video recording, Tómas productions, South Africa. Produced and directed by Bridget Thompson.

Other studies

Studied at the Academy of Art, Marstricht, Netherlands qualifying with a Diploma in Fine Arts.

Further studies at the Kultur Academy; Berlin, Germany obtaining a Diploma in Art History and Cultural Management

Master Student of Professor Johannes von Hoffen.

Private lessons with Professor Pitika Ntuli

Studied Aquarelle under Henrik Neus

Studied sculpture with Dr Thomas Sous

Installation and Art concept mentored by Joseph Bouys: working with artists like Malatana (Mocambique), Twin Seven-Seven (Nigeria), Carlos da Silva (Cuba), Hans Werner Barets (Germany).

Engaged in Mural Painting in Kyoto (Japan), Witbank (RSA), Soweto (Johanesburg RSA), Berlin. Germany.

EXHIBITIONS

2014
Talking about Cape Town, group exhibition at The Cape Gallery

2012
Siyakubona, group exhibition at The Cape Gallery

2011
Continuum, annual Winter Solstice exhibition at The Cape Gallery

2002
Civic Centre, Witbank RSA

2001
Manzana Gallery, Bathplass RSA

2000
Unisa Art Gallery, Pretoria RSA

1999
Art House Damtor, Hamburg
Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City USA
Ludwig Forum Aachen, Germany

1998
Gallery Elizabeth, Essen Germany
City Bank, Siegen Germany
Jackobihof Gallery, Aachen Germany
Gallery no name, Amsterdam Holland
Landes Garte Schau, Lütich Germany
Gallery Vitoro Alfieri, Rome Italy
Uhles Gallery, Weissweile, Germany
Gallery Kasugi, Hyogo Japan
Modern Art Gallery, Tokyo Japan
Gallery Benatz, Köln, Germany

1997
Museum of Ethnology Frankfurt, Germany
Africa Museum: Neijmeigen, Holland
Gallery X: Berlin, Germany
Dresdener Bank Lübeck, Germany
Academy of Art: Dusseldorf, Germany
Embassy RSA: Bonn, Germany

1996
Atelier-Haus: Aachen, Germany
Rathaus: Bonn, Germany
Rathaus; Steinfurt, Germany
Galerie Eupen: Eupen, Belgium

1995
Atelier-Haus: Aachen, Germany
Uni Klinikum: Aachen, Germany

1994
Mesumer Landshaus: Rhine, Germany
Cafe Opera Gallery: Aachen, Germany

1993
Cafe Opera Gallery: Aachen, Germany
City Bank: Monschau, Germany

1992
International Film Festival: Brussels, Belgium
D.O.N.G. F.U.L.B.
Burgerhaus: Altenberge, Germany

1991
Heiliger Optic Gallery: Aachen, Germany

1990
B.W.A. State Gallery, Koszalin, Poland

1989
Gallery Magdalena Smolinki: Aachen, Germany

1988
Gallery Art & Music: Hertzogerath, Germany
Parplex Gallery, Würselen, Germany


1987
Africa Gallery: Aachen, Germany
Frankenberger Gallery: Aachen, Germany
K.J.Z. Gallery: Ochtrup, Germany

1986
Gallery Malmo: Malmo, Sweden
Bad Neuheimer Gallery: Bad Neuheimer, Germany

1985
Kulturhuset: Stockholm: Sweden
Neue Gallery: Frankfurt, Germany

1984
Picasso Museum: Barcelona, Spain
Stadt Café: Frankfurt, Germany
Neue Gallery: Frankfurt, Germany

1983
Africa Gallery: Paris, France
Gallery Blue: Dusseldorf, Germany

Symposium

1984
Oil Painting: Kopenhagen Denmark
Sculpture: Munich Germany

1985
Sculpture Paris: France

1990
Aquarrel: Dornbush Netherlands

1996
Aqua/Sculpture Wernigeröde,Germany
Sculpture, Milano Italy

1997
Poetry: Ochtrup, Germany

1998
Aquarrel: Amsterdam.


Collectors

Fred Olsen Shipping

Bibliography

Miles,E.1997.A story of early black artists.South Africa, Human Rousseau.

Ernst Mancobe at Home 2006, video recording, Tómas productions, South Africa. Produced and directed by Bridget Thompson.

CHARLES MALEKA
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Artist: CHARLES MALEKA
Title: Angel Dance I
Size: 34.5 x 39 cm
Media: Acrylic
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