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MBABANE – Promoting art amidst the COVID-19 pandemic using online platforms.

Yebo Art Gallery in Ezulwini has continued with contemporary art exhibitions, representing artists, and growing the creative economy of Eswatini despite the many challenges this past year. A group exhibition called ‘Buhle Bemphilo’ was held in May last year and due to the enforced lockdown periods and challenges faced by artists the focus switched to their Artsy online platform. 

In November they agreed with artists to have monthly exhibitions again; Phindile Mamba had a solo exhibition in November and sold out on her the online platform. The World Bank Art Program also invited her to their exhibition in April titled  ‘We are Afrika: The Power of Women and Youth’. Sinenkosi Msomi had a solo of photography in December and Tony Marshak followed with paintings in January. Currently Ray Berman’s solo of large abstract paintings is on show.


Yebo Art Gallery curator Aleta Armstrong said, “As they say, the show must go on. so despite the tough times of lockdown and loss of income we had to all adapt and find out how to survive.  Luckily, the gallery and all the fabulous work by the artists was already online with Artsy who are the largest online database of contemporary art,” she said.

She went on to add that DHL couriers had also been fantastic partners in assisting with the growth of the e-commerce platform. She said the only problem they faced in the country were payment options since PayPal and Instagram shopping amongst others do not work.

“DHL have also been fantastic partners in assisting with the growth of our Ecommerce platform. The only problem in Eswatini are payment options as PayPal does not work here, Instagram shopping does not work here…the list goes on and on,” she disclosed.

“The Ministry of Commerce needs to review this urgently for SMEs to be able to grow. We have partnered with a Kenyan company DPO and now our clients can pay directly with a card from home which is much better than asking people to go to a bank to do a transfer. We are also incredibly grateful to local art collectors who have shown great support in this last year. We are currently redoing our website and launching an online shop as well with a range of textiles, posters, prints, home decor- all designed and made by local artists,” she said.


Phindile Mamba, who recently had a successful online exhibition at the gallery expressed her excitement when interviewed by this publication citing the exhibition assisted her to promote and market her art pieces to the world.

“The exhibition where I showed my paintings was so successful such that I was selected to be part of the World Bank exhibition in America and I was proud of myself for achieving this feat,’ she disclosed.

She further said after paying her commission, she made a total of E13 000 from the exhibition. She further thanked Armstrong for showcasing and promoting her work to markets and said she would be forever grateful as the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted planned live exhibitions.

Yebo Art Gallery represents the best emerging and professional artists in Eswatini. They also accept creative commissioned orders by individuals and corporates. Along with the art gallery they have a workshop for training and screen-printing, ceramics among others. 

There’s also a shop in ezulwini with a range of textiles, ceramics, art cards and a shop selling art materials for artists and creative students. In April Wesley Pepper, a South African artist with his own podcast, who has recently joined Yebo Art Gallery will have an exhibition. Also, Khulekani Msweli will have a much-anticipated exhibition in May where he will be exploring this past year that turned all our lives upside down.

“Yebo is always happy to meet artists and view their work; one just needs to make an appointment,” she said. Any interested members of the public can follow their work through their social media pages on Facebook, Instagram or alternatively visit their centre which is Ezulwini.

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