Queenstown Girls’ High School pupil, Emihle Velaphi, is making her mark in the art space through her unique African-inspired pieces.
The grade 12 pupil bagged a silver medal in this year’s Western Cape virtual eisteddfod (WCVE) for her piece, Certified Queen. The WCVE is a showcase for visual and performing arts, and a panel of experts adjudicates and grades the work from merit, bronze, gold and cum laude.
Velaphi said she was proud that her piece managed to rate highly – an 80% mark – with the judges, and that it was an affirmation of her dream to pursue a career in art.
“It feels unreal. I have always had a passion for art since I was young. I remember telling my mother I wanted a career in art. She was a bit apprehensive but we chatted and I taught her art and she grew to understand it. Next year hopefully I will be at a university where I will be able to study a bachelor of fine arts and later I would like to open an art gallery,” said Velaphi.
According to Velaphi, Certified Queen was inspired by the way women manage to overcome all the challenges they face. The red background symbolises danger and trouble. While in some places it can symbolise romance, in this instance it is a constant, present and imminent danger. The patterns represent poison turned into medicine, something beautiful. In front is this is a strong African woman standing upright, with her head up. Together this means through the many troubles women face, they still manage to keep their heads up. She makes herself a queen, hence she is the certified queen.
In 2019 Velaphi got a gold medal at the Belgravia eisteddfod. Art teacher Christine Maclean said Velaphi had all the tools to become a good artist. “I would say she has done very well. She definitely has the potential to become a good, serious artist in South Africa one day. She has now reached a level where she can recognise her abilities. She is confident with her work. It is unique. She uses mixed media, but it is her use of line, pattern and vision linked to Africa which is quite important.”