IN: Inspiration

Q&A with Franli Meintjes

A reflection on poverty led Franli Meintjes to be crowned Runner-up in the Sculpture Category of the 2018 PPC Imaginarium Awards.

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  • Tell us about yourself. Where are you based and what projects/undertakings are you involved in currently?

I’ve been living in Pretoria, Gauteng, for the last 13 years and I’m currently preparing for my first solo exhibition, organised by 40 Stones in the Wall Arts Collective at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, running from 28 June – 8 July 2018. Thereafter, I will exhibit at the Trent Gallery in Pretoria in September 2018.

 

  • At what point did you become interested in sculpture? What sparked the desire to enter a creative field?

I’ve always loved working in 3D. Being a mixed-media artist, I’m fascinated by the textures of the different materials that I use and the contrast that is created when they are placed next to each other to form a whole. Exploring new mediums is a characteristic of my art practice; therefore, taking up the challenge to create a sculpture out of PPC cement came naturally to me. 

 

  • Do you have any formal training and/or qualifications? If so, from where?

I completed my BA in fine arts at the University of the Free State in 2004, after which I did corporate work for a period of time. A few years ago, I made the decision to pursue my art career full-time.

 

  • Who and/or what inspires you as a creative?

My inspiration for creating art has always originated in my interest in people from different cultures and backgrounds, and how they interact with one another – particularly the people of South Africa. I am very passionate about, and deeply committed to, seeing political and social transformation in our country. My work aims to challenge people from different walks of life to not grow comfortable and complacent, but keep on pursuing personal CHANGE to help cross bridges of racial, social, cultural and religious divides. We live in such a fascinating time and I honestly think that creating relevant and excellent art is one of the most valuable contributions we can make to society. There are so many artists that inspire me for different reasons – it is hard to mention all of them.

 

  • What is your opinion of the arts and design industries in South Africa?

I am very excited about the diversity and creativity of the arts-and-design landscape in South Africa at the moment. I believe we are one of the most creative nations in the world, and because of the different and exciting initiatives, there are now more platforms for creatives to showcase their work and get discovered.

 

  • As a creative, what part of the PPC Imaginarium Awards did you find the most rewarding/fulfilling?

The part that I found most rewarding/fulfilling was definitely my exploration process with PPC cement as a new medium with which to create a three-dimensional artwork, as well as getting to see everyone else’s work at the PPC Imaginarium gala evening.

 

  • What role can a platform like the PPC Imaginarium Awards play among emerging creatives in your industry?

I am personally so grateful for this opportunity. Not only does the financial investment in me as a creative help me to create more art, it also boosts one’s confidence as an artist and generates great exposure for the selected artists through the travelling exhibition – something all artists hope for.

 

  • What are your plans for the future?

I aim to never stop creating art and to work hard at developing and maturing my artistic skills and concepts. I am hopeful and excited that the two solo exhibitions I have planned for this year will prepare me for a solo exhibition at a big gallery in 2019.

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