Date:30 September 2019 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Most artists spend many days alone, toiling in patience and determination, for they believe in the value of their craftmanship. This is also the case even in Vhembe District, where many of them still struggle to make their art viable because of the lack of a market.
Pilato Bulala is one such artist - he is talented, but his art is hidden away in his gallery at the Zama-Zama section of Tshivhuyuni village.
A recent visit to his home-based gallery by international art lovers from Holland had revived his faith that he was not just creating his work to gather dust in his gallery.
The visit was arranged by Madi a Thavha, and it saw Linda, Jilse, Inge and Koel Donken and Alex Theunissen admire Bulala's work right in his studio and gallery.
“Pilato is a highly talented and skilful artist whose art is rooted in the context of post-apartheid and new Africa,” said Theunissen. “It's not easy to ignore an artist of his calibre. His art is unique in a way that - while every piece is rooted to a story - it has an international appeal.”
Theunissen said that if Bulala was to be given a space to exhibit his art at some international galleries, he would immediately gain international stardom. “But it has to begin at home. People from his area need to appreciate his art as well, because this man is a rare talent.”
Bulala collects discarded cans, iron and other related debris and fashions them into art pieces, which could make art lovers flood to his studio from different corners of the world. “I am happy that a group of art lovers have visited me, and I am enjoying a good time with them,” he said.
When he started off as an artist, he had no space to store and exhibit his artefacts and figurines. However, he had a sister who let him use the front of her yard as a display area. Even today, Pilato does not have electricity at his new home.
“I strongly believe that my world will soon open up and more people will stream into my gallery to view and buy my artefacts and figurines,” he said.
Bulala can be phoned on 072 343 1202.
Pilato Bulala shows the visitors how he fashions his art work.
By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.