MAC and Nando’s Fitzroy present an African Art Workshop

Nando’s originates from South Africa and specialises in producing Peri-Peri Chicken, which uses a sauce made of crushed Peri-Peri chillies as a key ingredient. But did you know that Nando’s is also one of the world’s largest collector of African art, with many of their restaurants featuring works from their collection?

Nando's Fitzroy African art collection
Nando’s Fitzroy African art collection

Michael, the National Marketing Executive for Nando’s Australia approached Melbourne Art Class with an idea about running a local art workshop as part of the opening of their new Smith Street, Fitzroy restaurant in Melbourne. MAC Director, Marco thought this was great idea as we love to support local initiatives, and invited Hilmi, awesome artist and MAC teacher, to meet with himself and Michael over some Nando’s for lunch. After some discussion and a great lunch it was decided that the opening would comprise of a presentation about the art collection to be installed in the Fitzroy restaurant and a painting workshop. Hilmi, who has studied African art, put together a wonderful presentation based on Nando’s local African art collection.

The other aspect of the night featured the making of artwork by the participants. It couldn’t be expected that the participants had any painting experience and they would only have couple of hours for a workshop, so the big question was, how were they going to produce something amazing under those circumstances? Hilmi came up with the genius idea of basing a design on a  traditional African design and sketching it out across thirty six, thirty centimetre by thirty centimetre canvases.

The design chosen by Hilmi was based upon Kuba Arts which originated from Congo and spread out to every corner of Africa. Kuba Arts have a sense of order and rhythm, is flat but with a sense of movement. It has a structure but also a kind of randomness about it. Kuba Art was used in rich textiles to intricate bead-work to ceremonial masks, from architecture to paintings and in many types of rituals and ceremonial activities, these patterns are incorporated into images for dance and they are very much alive and present in our daily lives today from the patterns on our curtains and wall papers to tiles in our bathroom to patterns on our clothing .

Participants each painted in their section of the design and those canvases, when joined, created the design as a whole.

Hilmi's African design

The planning and drawing of the design took Hilmi many hours to get right. On the night, participants had a wonderful time listening to Hilmi talk about the African art collection installed in the restaurant at Smith Street and about Kuba Arts and then following his instructions for the painting of the canvases. MAC’s Fenja, was there to support participants with the painting. The results were wonderful as individual works and became a stunning piece when joined together, as you can see in the photos!

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Written by Marco Corsini and Hilmi Baskurt

Upcoming Painting from Still Life Short Course with Hilmi

A class for painters in both oils and acrylics working from Still Life. Participants are encouraged to develop drawing skills, conceptual understanding and technical proficiency in painting. This class is open to students from secondary school age onwards and all skill levels. Find out more here.

Saturdays: 14th November to Saturday December 19th, 3.15 pm – 5.45 pm

Some materials provided.

Cost: $280

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