Shakes Tembani

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Full Biography

From a young age, Meshack “Shakes” Tembani loved art and started exploring different avenues of expression in a variety of mediums such as painting and mosaic. With a distinctive, stylized and almost naïve technique, he invites viewers to contemplate the beautiful in the seemingly ordinary by using bold and flat colours. Inspired by the everyday experiences faced by him and his community, Tembani depicts these, often concentrating on strong female figures in his neighbourhood i.e. women who are the breadwinners, church goers, single parents and entrepreneurs

Tembani grew up in the New Crossroads township (Cape Town) where he still lives and works. In 1998 he completed a Certificate in Visual Arts with the Community Arts Project. This was followed by a Certificate in Screen-printing, paper-mache, fabric painting and craft at Ruth Prowse College of Art and Design (1999). He then completed Diploma in Adult Education at the University of Cape Town in 2003 and a Product Design and Development Course at Madesa the next year. Tembani was a resident artist at the Castle of Good Hope Art Studios for a few years. He has had a number of solo exhibitions and has participated in many group exhibitions both locally and abroad. Tembani’s work has been commissioned by companies and institutions and appears in several collections globally.



2007 – 2011            Resident artist at Castle of Good Hope Art Studios

2004            Product Design and Development Course, Madesa, Observatory

2003            Diploma in Education: Adult Education, University of Cape Town

2001             Certificate: Visual Art, Art’s Cool

1999            Certificate: Screen printing, papier-mâché, fabric painting and craft, Ruth Prowse College of Art and Design

2003            Certificate: Artists as Teachers Learnership Programme, iBhahatane Project, Frank Joubert Art Centre

1998                         Certificate in Visual Arts, Community Arts Project



  • 2011 UNQULO, AVA, Cape Town
  • 2009 Just Dogs, AVA, Cape Town



  • 2020 KNOOP / KNOP, Gallery University Stellenbosch
  • 2020 We’ve come to take you home, Michaelis Gallery, UCT, Cape Town
  • 2019 Returning the Gaze, Cape Gallery
  • 2019 The Emerging Artist Development Trust, Travelling Gallery Mouille Point
  • 2019 Tulbagh Art Festival, Tulbagh
  • 2019 The Travelling Gallery, Frankfurt, Stuttgart
  • 2019 The Travelling Gallery, Munchen, Germany
  • 2017 Soho Pop Up Exhibition, London
  • 2014 Telling our Story, The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2014 Talking about Cape Town, The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2012 Social Synergy, The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2010 Mini me, AVA, Cape Town
  • 2010 A dip into the World of Visual Arts in Cape Town, Embassy of Spain
  • 2009 Tombola and the Art Reaching Fund, AVA, Cape Town
  • 2009 Art Reach in Progress, AVA, Cape Town
  • 2009 Studio Visit, AVA, Cape Town
  • 2008 RE-CM, Waterfront, Cape Town
  • 2008 Soul of Africa (DBSA), Johannesburg
  • 2008 Art Reach, The Best of 2008, AVA, Cape Town
  • 2007 Making Space, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
  • 2006 Face (In) Cape Town, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
  • 2004 Members Exhibition, AVA, Cape Town
  • 2002 Annex Gallery, Cape Town



  • 2009 Vuleka Art Competition Finalist



  • 2019 Painting: University of Cape Town
  • 2004 Mosaic: Kwalanga Construction of Wall Murals
  • 2004 Seven Pebbles Mirror: Accommodation facility Robben Island
  • 2002 Mosaic: Arabella Hotel, Western Cape
  • 2001 Mosaic Mural: Clock Tower Hotel
  • 2001 Mosaic: Red Cross
  • 1999 Mural and Mosaic design and Wall construction: Guga Sthebe Centre, Kwalanga



  • Irma Stern Museum
  • The Cape Gallery, Cape Town
  • State of the Art Gallery, Cape Town
  • Ebony Gallery, Franschoek
  • Rossouw Modern, Hermanus
  • School of Economics, University of Cape Town
  • The Gite Gallery, Houston, USA
  • Haven Holdings, Johannesburg
  • Nando’s Art Collection
  • Spier Art Collection
  • Hollard Art Collection
  • Art Innsbruk, Germany 2020