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March 2021 1st edition

When music and art collide

Written by Allison Cooper

Nico Phooko the music painter, one of Africa's most gifted visual artists, has been selected as a Bakanal de Afrique (BdA) 2020 Fellow. He will join 50 other talented Africans to create artwork that will be featured in the virtual BdA Afro Urban Festival in November 2020.Nico Phooko, the music painter. PHOTO: Mpilo Phooko.

The festival celebrates the journey of people through art and culture and includes various creative disciplines, from filmmaking and dance to music and visual art.

“This is an opportunity for my ‘Notes ‘n Strokes’, sharing the journey of my music-inspired work, which is the art of making music and the music of making art,” says Phooko.

Phooko, who says his love of art has been with him since birth, has always been an artist. He promotes the concept of live painting, in which he captures the spirit of special events live on canvas.

“I create my own music and also collaborate with other musicians. I paint live on stage, using notes for various strokes,” he says.

Phooko, who was born in KwaThema and now lives in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, studied graphic design basics and fine art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation.

Art helped him to stay away from the social ills that many township people face, as it kept him focussed and grounded.

Art can open up opportunities for growth and have an impact in a person’s life as it is a mirror of society, says Phooko. “If it becomes a good skill and is marketed professionally, it can also be a very good business.”

To young and aspiring artists, Phooko says, “Be yourself. Originality makes for unique, gifted people. Stay inspired and focussed.”

Phooko facilitates art workshops with young up-and-coming artists. “I want to impart the skills and knowledge that were sowed and ploughed in me. I want to help them understand the professional art world.”

Phooko has exhibited his art in most parts of the world and says young artists can get involved in these workshops by applying online. Keep
an eye on his Facebook page: @nicophookothemusicpainter.

To view the online exhibition in November, visit www.bakanaldeafrique.com