Jambo Africa Online profiles a prolific young Johannesburg artist, Kgalalelo Gaitate, who is brewing an artistic storm in the world…

Kgalalelo Gaitate, affectionately known as Kgalee, is a self-taught South African visual and corporate artist. From the very tender age of three, her parents and crèche teachers noticed an embedded creative nature which she was encouraged to nurture. Teaching herself to draw, from various disciplines such as observing television cartoons, colouring books, illustrated story books, magazines and actual people, she finally began to draw in pen, as she found this medium to be much more striking than pencil. Honing her gift at the National School of the Arts High School in Johannesburg, she was then exposed to various media such as watercolour, gouache, oil paint, etching and marbling.

Though only 29, she has already taken part in various group exhibitions with Mashumi Art Projects, a gallery located on Nelson Mandela’s home street, the world renowned Soweto’s Vilakazi Street – the only street in the world to produce two Nobel Peace Laurates, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. While in Soweto, one can’t leave the township without making a detour to see her other exhibition at the Eyethu Gallery in Mofolo.

Her wings have spread beyond the African continent. She has exhibited at the Cape Best in Milan, Italy, for the Salone Mobile Internazionale, Kalahari Art Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (NY), Afropolitan Gallery, Julie Miller Gallery and has been an art panelist for Prelude-To-The-Shed Hudson Yards, NY.

She has also done corporate art for Genesis Analytics and Royal HaskoningDHV, and is currently administering the Ubuciko Artist Career Development Programme for Pareto Limited.

Her Heritage series is part of an ongoing exhibition at Edikeni Restaurant in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Possessing an incredible eye for detail, she specializes in portraiture, working primarily with oil pastels, ballpoint pen, Copic markers and acrylic paint. Much of her subject matter is inspired by South African traditional dress. Her works comment on various aspects of numerous subcultures throughout the South African terrain.

“Kgalee possesses an incredible eye for detail, her works depict South African in tradi- tional attire through the braided mediums of pen, oil pastels, and acrylic,” lyrically waxed Marvin Verna of the Kalahari Gallery: “Seemingly decorative, once taken out of their original context and presented to an audience in the western hemisphere, her works offer a palate of potential for cross cultural dialogues and new meanings to take place. Her works are collected by many prominent tastemakers and luminaries worldwide who appreciate owning history through her expression.”