WATCH: Kasi entrepreneur’s online platform takes South African art to the world

Published Jan 3, 2023


Johannesburg – South African artists are making waves all over the world.

There is a new breed of fearless artists such as Nelson Makamu who are taking South African art to the world.

Andile Langa has hopes of discovering South Africa’s next big art star. Langa is well on his way to doing so.

Langa, 26, is a self-styled “kasi” guy, born and raised in Alexandra, Johannesburg, who happens to be an art dealer – an online art dealer.

Langa has created a platform that looks to revolutionise how art is collected and sourced while appealing to what he calls a new generation of art collectors.

His online platform, Matte Art, connects young South African artists with would-be collectors and buyers from all over the world and allows the artists to earn a living through their talents.

Langa’s interest in art goes back as far back as he can remember, but he just never had the knack for creating art. His lack of artistic ability did not deter him from finding a way to carve out a career on the art scene.

He said: “I have always had a keen interest in art but the truth is, I could not paint to save my life. I needed to gauge how I could get it involved in the art sphere without getting my hands dirty with paint.”

Langa is committed to bringing a younger generation of artists to the fore by using his platform, artists who will appeal to what he believes is an untapped market of young collectors who will relate to the works available on his platform.

“We are trying to bring in a style that speaks to young people, because art is associated with the much older generation and this is why you see young people shying away from art. We wanted to create something that would accommodate a younger audience and be more inclusive,” he said.

He said he wanted to make art cool again, and that was reflected in his day-to-day life and business.

“If you look at my Instagram handle, ‘Mr. Langa’, you see how this guy makes art cool and makes it feel like it is accessible. And when you tie that to my store, you can identify the cool artworks that are consigned to his platform.”

Langa’s goal is to foster a community of young collectors who will buy art from his platform and grow with it. He also hopes buyers see the value of their investment in art grow with time.

His mission is simple. He aims “to build the biggest distribution network for young South African artists on a global scale, along with an increased database of young art collectors to make a significant impact on the market value through the online sales of art”.

Langa is the epitome of the new-age entrepreneur who relies on leveraging social media and online tools to market his business. Using his experience in social media marketing management, he has grown his fledgling business exponentially.

“The Matte Art website has been visited by over 5 000 unique users. Young people are excited to see someone young also try and pioneer a path in the art sphere,” he said.

Coming from Alexandra, Langa is aware of the socio-economic challenges faced by the youth and by some of the artists whose work he is selling.

“When I think about some of the artists I list with, they don't come from a background of privilege. Ideally, the core foundation of what I do is to create a space that brings economic value for young, upcoming artists,” he said.

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