Peter Sibeko

Peter Sibeko, a mixed media specialist, was born in Orlando East on July 22, 1940. He comes from a family of eight. Sibeko dropped out of school when he was 15 to get a job to help his mother with the family finances. But even before Sibeko left school his teachers had noticed his natural artistic talent and encouraged him accordingly.

He was, however, determined to pursue a career in art and in 1971 was spotted by David Mbele, an established artist. Impressed by what he saw, Mbele mentored Sibeko and introduced him to charcoal. Similarly, Solomon Sikhaulela taught him oil painting and so he learned different techniques and media.

While Sibeko could not leave his formal job in order to help the family, he managed to focus on art and spent most of his weekends selling his artworks in places like Johannesburg’s Carlton Centre as well as at galleries.

In 1986 Sibeko decided to open a gallery in Johannesburg which was later named the Soweto Art Gallery. Sibeko left his full time job in favor of this new venture and it started as an art studio but soon developed into a fully fledged gallery. To him the art gallery was extremely important on many counts as it was well positioned in the center of the city, and so Soweto artists were able to assemble their work at one point for the purposes of selling in wider markets. The art gallery has since become a window for many black artists in and around Soweto. Sibeko continues to work as an artist  living in.

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