ARP Project – Machepha’s Residency ended


Last hours in Rome for the 26 years old Zwelethu Machepha who ended his artistic residency within ARP – Art Residency Project, at the Centro Luigi Di Sarro he had the final interview by the filmmaker Angelica Farinelli which is building the documentary about the whole project. As location, the ‘virtual piazza’ that the big Machepha’s works had crowded into the central room of the exhibition space of the Center for Documentation of Contemporary Artistic Research in Rome. All around,  on the walls and the floor, the huge sheets spread out like the many figures who crowded the six weeks of meetings and emotions. After the opening, Machepha continued to visit the City. Together with Emanuele Meschini, who accompanied him throughout the period of the residency, he noted the different architectures of neighborhoods, as Eur, Flaminio, Historical centre, Villa Borghese. He visited the MAXXI, the Roman temple of contemporary art and the Auditorium Parco della Musica, the Colosseum and the archeological sites at the Foro Romano, and the Vatican Museums with the wonder of the Sistine Chapel.

Finally last week for the young South African artist even a day trip to Florence thanks to a meeting with the sculptor Nicola Rossini who drove in the cradle of the Renaissance, and accompanied him in the visit to the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence.

A millennial history summed up in a forty-five-day trip that probably will bear fruit in the coming months. “I will need time – said Zwelethu Machepha – to rework the multitude of informations and emotions that I got. If I think about it now, I feel just overpowered.” What will remain of the meetings, human and artistic exchanges, the wires stretched between worlds, definitely not so far, are some works created during the residency, one of which, entitled “Made in Rome” entered in the Centro Di Sarro collection. The ARP project is now preparing for the second phase. The team will travel to Cape Town, South Africa, to prepare for the arrival  of Valentina Colella, in February 2017.

COLONIAL GHOSTS – Zwelethu Machepha


Colonial Ghosts at the Centro Di Sarro brings together the different mediums of drawing, painting and printmaking of the young South African artist Zwelethu Machepha. Machepha capturing  enthusiastically in both figurative and abstracted the intrinsic and intuitive histories and languages of a world around him. A pixilated and redefined language that is both simultaneously a commentary on the digitalized world around us but equally meticulous colors and patterns that could equate with his cultural heritage.

Most recent prints include the subtler elements of pure fluorescent white drawings on paper that contrasts with the larger scale multi-paneled monochrome and colorful paper works. These all explain the process of experimentation the artist works through. Originally based on literal renderings of his human subjects  (an example has been included in this exhibition as well), the essence of this humanity permeates through the exhibition. But as the artist moves forward in time the visual references are pared down to their abstracted ‘essence’. Responding to the vibrant urban spaces around him as one moves from room to room one can feel the presence of a human beings, as they gradually lose recognizable forms. Machepha explains he is trying to capture his identity  and his world as the global environment around us continues to accelerate to such a degree we lose all grounding and roots with what we know. The audience is able to experience this fractured nature in the drawings depending on how close you are to them. From across the room one can see the silhouettes of the forms and bodies, whilst up very close the identities and shapes lose all definition and become only intense lines and patterns.

Machepha includes near the end of the exhibition a small series of brand new oil paint etchings realized in Rome with the assistance of Alessandro Fornaci at Stamperia del Tevere. Recaptured here the nuisances of humanity but without the recognizable human form. This minimal narrative by Machepha touches upon a dissolving of identities and loss of figuration now is landscaped in Roman languages that impressed upon the artist in his residency.   (Emma Vandermerwe – Everard Read Gallery Cape Town)

see all the images on the  ARP INSTAGRAM DIARY

ARP Project – The residence as a partecipative knowledge

It’s been three weeks now since the arrival of Zwelethu Machepha from Johannesburg to Rome and the beginning of his artistic residence in the capital.

“In the last few weeks in Rome I’ve considered myself graciously fortunate to have been exposed to the richness of this beautiful nation. I’ve seen the dramatic landscape, the history these monuments carry on are full of identity which is something hard to find where I come from” says Machepha, as he works to the opening on 31st May at Centro Luigi Di Sarro.


These weeks were full, engaging and always busy. ARP – Art Residency Project provides the artists selected with a “daily encounter” with Rome both in its historical and archaeological aspect and in the contemporary one.Besides such monuments as the Forum, the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Ara Pacis, the encounter of Machepha with contemporary art and the Roman scene was “consumed” day after day through different studio visits and exhibition openings. The residence project, has been following by ARP Project team composed of young cultural workers with different roles: Emanuele Rinaldo Meschini, Angelica Farinelli and Giorgio Cristiano. The group has been constantly enriched with others artists and curators creating a dialogative and participatory atmosphere. That’s the case of Giulia Lopalco, who introduced the group at the printing/etching workshop “Stamperia del Tevere” created by Alessandro Fornaci where every weekend Machepha working on his plates. The study visits have brought us to Giuseppe Pietroniro and Marco Raparelli artists well known in the Italian contemporary art system, Giovanni De Cataldo and Leonardo Petrucci at Pastificio Cecere. Machepha had the chance also to confront with artists in residence at the various foreign academies such as Damien Duffy and Joseph Griffiths hosted during this time in Rome at the British Academy.


The openings to which Machepha participated were numerous, almost one a day. The solo of Vincenzo Schillaci at the Operativa gallery by Carlo Pratis, the collective show Studio System from artists in residence at America Academy, the exhibition of Camille Henrot at Memmo Foundation and the three nights so far organized by the independent space Q13 run by Carlo Caloro. Here, in an area like the Aurelio district far from any tourist tour guide, Machepha came into contact with several artists, especially with Stefan Nestoroski, Macedonian artist but with Italian training.


Many were also the visits to museums of which Rome such a the National Gallery of Modern Art, Macro museum for contemporary art and the Ethnographic Museum Luigi Pigorini. Among the works of public art, the group took part in a precious tour lead by Sara Spizzichino (image researcher, CO-Team Captain Shadow Puppets for the project Triumphs and Laments) to the monumental work of William Kentdrige on the Tiber banks, coincidentally another South African artist enchanted by Rome.

ARP Project – Let’s start with the residency

On Tuesday 3rd it’s official started the residency of the South African artist Zwelethu Machepha (Johannesburg 1990). During this six weeks the artist will meet with artists and curators of the Roman contemporary art scene. The aim of this residence is the dialogue between two cultures seemingly distant but actually held together by the thread of artistic research. The work of Machepha is focused on the theme of counter history and the idea of colonialism as an appropriation of identity. During his work Machepha will interact with a group of young cultural workers from different fields (curating, video making,editing) who will guide him in a immersive trip in the city. The opening of the exhibition that will conclude the residence will be on May 31 at the Centre Luigi Di Sarro.

Zwelethu Machepha is in many respects the physical embodiment of the young urban African artist generation. Investigating different mediums – drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and performing arts, his expression stems from that which he is constantly observing, digesting and living .

The curator Emma Van Der Merwe from Everard Read Gallery (Cape Town) wrote: “Machepha starts as printer and portrait maker – an observer of the many people’s in the African urban landscapes, through the deeply personal relationships Machepha has in the both figurative and abstracted forms that lead to his original Colonial Ghosts Series. Finally here at the Centre, one follows the artist into a stream of consciousness and development with his time spent in Rome. Defined and structured around that which he exposes himself and his working discourse too, his languages and patterns will strive to absorb the energies of the architecture, colours and peoples of Rome”.


Zwelethu Machepha

Zwelethu Machepha selected to ARP – Art Residency Project 2015/2017

Zwelethu Machepha selected to ARP – Art Residency Project 2015/2017

5th edition of the Exchange of Artist between Italy and South Africa.


Centro Luigi Di Sarro, Rome and the partner Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town are pleased to announce that the South African artist selected for the 2016/2017 Edition of ARP- Art Residency Project – is Zwelethu Machepha.

Zwelethu Machepha was born in Johannesburg in 1990. After he matriculated, he joined the Artist Proof Studio to study printmaking. His work – painting, drawing and graphics – has been showed in several prestigious group exhibitions, including the Johannesburg Art Gallery.

The residency will take place in Rome starting the 3rd of May, 2016, after which the artist will have a solo exhibition, at Centro Di Sarro, opening on May 31st 2016. The exhibition and the residency will conclude on 11 June and 13 June 2016, respectively.

During the period of residency the Machepha’s work will be filmed and photographed in order to make a documentary and a printed catalogue which will include also the second part of the project: the residency and exhibition of an Italian artist in Cape Town during February-March 2017.

Both artists involved in the swop project will realize together a site-specific at the Tsoga Community Centre in Samora Machel township during March 2017. The event, in cooperation with the Italian Consulate in Cape Town, provides a contest aimed at the informal artists active in the suburbs of Cape Town, with the awarding of a prize.

The entire project for the cultural education is intended to benefit young artists under 35, has the contribution by MAECI, Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and has the patronage of the Italian Embassy in South Africa and the South African Embassy in Italy.

Z.Machepha - Colonial Ghosts series
Z.Machepha – Colonial Ghosts series             

Arp-Art Residency Project 2015/17

Arp-Art Residency Project 2015/17

Thanks to the support of MAE, the project of artistic residences between Rome and Cape Town in South Africa starts again.

This is the fourth two-year period of activity, for the cultural exchange program, dedicated to emerging talents. For the next two years Centro Luigi Di Sarro and Gallery Everard Reed – with funding from the Italian Foreign Ministry and the participation of the diplomatic missions of the two countries – are involved in a new and more comprehensive proposal that will bring a young South African artist in Rome and an Italian artist in Cape Town for a residence of one month and a solo exhibition. In Cape Town, then, at the end of the biennium, it will be held an event supported by the Italian Consulate in Cape Town that will engage the Community Center Samora Machel and the young artists from the informal scene. During these days Centro Luigi Di Sarro, with local partners and Slowdesign Rainbowmediagroup, are working for the organization of activities and the selection of participants, all under 35.