Meet Artist Alliance Mentor Atang Tshikare

Hailing from Bloemfontein, Atang Tshikare is a Cape Town-based self-taught multidisciplinary artist. His father who was an anti-Apartheid activist and illustrator for art and Pan-African magazines was the propellant to his art career, spanning over two decades long. A luminary for self-starters, Tshikare began as a street artist, graphic designer, and founded Zabalazaa Designs in 2010, and embarked on the customisation of shoes, machines, furniture, and clothing. Now, he creates limited-edition collectible designs with a focus on sculptural furniture, functional art, and fine-art sculpture – whose work is inspired by his Tswana heritage, African identity, and embracing that of a global contemporary art language. 

Atang has collaborated with local artists such as weavers from Lesotho, OKHA, and has commissioned work for brands such as BMW, Chimurenga Magazine, Adidas Originals, MTV Base, Belvedere Vodka, and Nandos, to name a few. He is the recipient of the Future Found Award by the Southern Guild Design Foundation in 2014, Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans in 2015. 

He was the judge for the Elle Décor Solve competition in 2015, the Dezeen Awards in 2019, and was a nominator for the British Design Museum Beazley Awards in 2019. He has exhibited at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (2020), Zeitz MOCCA in 2019, and the Southern Guild to name a few, and has presented his first independent solo show, Peo e Atong in Cape Town, honoring his firstborn son, Peo. Atang has truly solidified his position as a relentless practitioner of South African art.

Why did you agree to be a mentor in this programme / why do you think the Artist Alliance initiative is important?

I was not afforded this type of dedicated opportunity as I climbed the business and art “ladder” so I’ve agreed to be a mentor because I have a lot of gathered information and experience to share. I am also looking forward to seeing the change and progress the programme will make for the participants and their businesses. 

What are you looking for when it comes to the applications and mentees / what would make applications stand out to you?

I am looking forward to applicants that have already taken an initiative with their careers (at school, in a gallery, or independent). Go-getters that just need a fresh perspective and a push.

Do you have any advice for those wanting to apply?

They must be honest with themselves, pin-point what is unique about personality and their craft. Finally they must know how far they want to take it and what they are willing to put in to get there.  

What are your hopes for the outcome of this programme? 

To help someone create an understanding of themselves so well, that it leads to a successful career in a healthy and holistic manner.

Apply Now

If you would like the opportunity to be mentored by one of these incredible industry leaders, you can apply to be part of the cohort until the end of July 2021.  

To apply or to find out more about the judging and applications criteria, follow this link. In addition to completing an application form, you’ll be required to submit a portfolio of 5 pieces of your best work; a motivational letter or video, telling us why you are the right candidate for the programme as well as an artist’s biography, which sheds some light on your journey and future plans. 

Successful candidates will be selected in early August and will begin the two-month long incubation and mentorship in September. The programme will run until the end of October 2021.

All applications will be assessed by a curatorial panel of experts. Submissions are open from 2 July to 31 July. 

Apply Now.


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