© Karin Mathebalo

Karin Mathebula debut solo exhibition at Absa Art Hot Spot

Absa hosts debut solo art exhibition by a senior executive of the bank

Absa hosted a virtual dialogue on their Art Hotspot platform to launch the debut solo exhibition by talented amateur artist and senior Absa executive, Karin Mathebula.

Mathebula, who heads Product, Sales and Service Enablement at Absa Relationship Banking, finds her inspiration in the South African landscape. Her exhibition entitled ‘Fusion of Hues’ is a collection that walks viewers through the landscapes of her youth, showcasing nature’s most brilliant and vivid colours. Juggling a challenging corporate career, Mathebula spent just over two years completing the 17 canvasses of her first art exhibition.

© Karin MathebaloKarin Mathebula, Mountains and light, 2018. Oil on canvas, 102 x 153cm. Courtesy of Absa Gallery.

With this exhibition, Mathebula explored the themes of still life, beach and mountains. “I am inspired by the environment where I grew up, the sites and smells of the Underberg region of the southern Drakenberg. Even in the most barren landscape lies beauty. If you look closely, you will always find colour and  texture, and that is the beauty of life. Sometimes there are patterns that are not recognisable, but if you look closely, you will see beauty,” she said.

During the virtual dialogue, hosted by Absa Senior Specialist Art Curator Dr Paul Bayliss, Mathebula shared her excitement about the new journey and mentioned that it has been a life-long dream of hers to be recognised as an artist. “I have been painting all my life. It’s a place I go to for refuge, to express myself and to see things in perspective,” she said.

Absa is committed to bringing possibility to life by celebrating visual artists of all levels and backgrounds from across the African continent. “With this exhibition, we are now also bringing Karin’s possibility to life, by recognising and celebrating her unique style and skill,” stated Bayliss.

© Karin MathebaloKarin Mathebula, Lillies from below, 2020. Oil on canvas, 102 x 77cm. Courtesy of Absa Gallery.

He was introduced to Mathebula in 2019 by Arrie Rautenbach, who heads the bank’s Retail and Business banking division, whilst attending Absa’s annual Champagne Festival. Bayliss immediately recognised the potential in her work and after paying a visit to her home studio,  suggested the possibility of staging a solo exhibition.

“I was suitably impressed. The themes that run through Karin’s artwork capture the beauty and essence of the South African landscape. Karin has a very keen eye and her distinct use of colour, texture and shapes, bring her work to life,” he said.  Despite challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Bayliss and his team worked alongside Mathebula to curate her exhibition and realise her dream.

With the pandemic altering our lives irreversibly, the so-called “passion economy”, where people monetize individuality and creativity, is fast gaining momentum across the globe. “Whether it’s playing video games, running online yoga classes, or selling niche fashion items, people are increasingly making a living by doing the things they love. Reinvent yourself, even if it means switching to a career path that gives you what you need. It’s never too late,” stated Mathebula.

“Absa is a purpose-led organisation and it is our wish that everyone who experiences her art will come to understand what “following your passion” is all about,” concluded Bayliss.

Karin Mathebula has lived and worked in multiple geographies and was involved in a range of disciplines which include, inter alia, banking; infrastructure development; governmental and the NGO space. This broad and varied background speaks to her interest in learning new things, being challenged out of her comfort zone, and always looking for new ways to have a positive impact. She likes to take ideas and transform them into reality. This is a common theme across both her professional career and her artistry.

© Karin MathebaloKarin Mathebula, Underwater composite, 2021. Oil on canvas. 122 x 152cm. Courtesy of Absa Gallery.

She likes to mobilise people behind audacious goals, and then create an environment in which people can achieve those goals. She sees painting like that, as one draws on skills and ideas, mobilizing a variety of resources and mediums, to achieve one vision.

Mathebula draws on her interest in the natural environment as inspiration, having been raised in Underberg, which nestles beneath the Drakensberg mountains. There is no shortage of natural inspiration, and how that intersects with our everyday life should be appreciated daily.

She loves to spend time in the outdoors and maintains a strict fitness regimen to ensure she has her health and the energy to live life to the fullest. She has a large extended family based in SA and around the world. She resides with her husband in Johannesburg, and they have 3 children.

Launched in May this year, the Absa Art Hot Spot delivers an engaging experience for artists, collectors and consumers. The completely virtual platform allows for the democratisation of art on the continent as it takes art to the people, giving Absa and artists more opportunities to interact with their audiences, enabling them to create and engage in completely new ways.

© Karin MathebaloKarin Mathebula, Wild poppies, 2021. Oil on canvas, 52 x 77cm. Courtesy of Absa Gallery.

The platform is expertly curated providing opportunities for focused dialogue, networking, and insights sharing and showcases a variety of original artwork, as well as artwork from previous Absa L’Atelier winners and participants from across Africa.

Visitors get a glimpse of how art across the continent has evolved, have an opportunity to revisit exhibitions previously hosted in the Absa Gallery, view previously hosted art masterclasses and artist interviews, or watch the latest art webinar in the virtual auditorium.

The virtual exhibition runs until the 25th of August 2021. To visit the Absa Art Hot Spot platform, click here. To view Mathebula’s collection on the Absa Art Hot Spot, click here: Karin Mathebula Solo Exhibition | Virtual Gallery (absa.africa)