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Dead artist’s family slams dept

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Sekunkwe’s sudden death had sent shock waves through the local, national and international art communities, while leaving his family in mourning

Local artist Alfred Sekunkwe. Picture: WHAG

WHILE world-renowned, Kimberley-born artist Alfred Aobakwe Sekunkwe will be laid to rest this weekend, following his death last week, family members have slammed the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (NCDSAC) for not coming forward to assist with the funeral.

Sekunkwe, who was born in Kimberley on July 24, 1978, died on May 15 after a short sickbed.

He was well-known for his wood and lino cuts, as well as mosaics, and his works can be seen at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature building, various government department offices, local schools and the William Humphreys Art Gallery (Whag) in Kimberley.

In 1996 Sekunkwe became the first up-and-coming local artist to exhibit at the Whag. From 1998, he was invited to exhibit at the annual exhibition of the Kimberley Art Centre, along with its top students.

In 1999 Sekunkwe was commissioned by the McGregor Museum in Kimberley to produce 36 masonite woodcut prints on the theme of the Anglo Boer War. When he completed his research at the Africana Library a successful exhibition followed and the series was ultimately bought by the McGregor Museum.

During the same year, he exhibited on invitation during Library Week. He also entered the Northern Cape Artists Competition in the category “Best Design Cover” and was awarded first prize.

He was further commissioned by the NCDSAC to do murals that were painted in Douglas, Campbell, Warrenton and Kimberley.

Sekunkwe was also part of training that took place at the Northern Cape legislature building during 2002, where a mural of fallen heroes in mosaic was designed in 2008.

Since then, Sekunkwe had been creating mosaic murals of school emblems, which can be seen at St Patrick’s College and Diamantveld High School in Kimberley.

“The Upington 26”, a mosaic mural consisting of 26 faces, was also done by artists that included Sekunkwe. The provincial legislature also commissioned Sekunkwe to do repairs on the mosaic faces of ZK Matthews and Joseph Morolong following the unveiling in 2015. He also completed the mosaic face of Dawid Kuiper, the well-known traditional healer and leader of the Khomani San.

During his career as an artist he represented the Northern Cape and South Africa abroad.

Sekunkwe’s brother, Lebogang Diseko, yesterday told the DFA that Sekunkwe’s sudden death had sent shock waves through the local, national and international art communities, while leaving his family in mourning.

Sekunwe leaves behind two children.

Diseko yesterday slammed the NCDSAC “for not coming forward to assist with Sekunwe’s funeral” that is set to take place in Kimberley tomorrow.

“We are disappointed that the NCDSAC has not come forward to assist in burying Sekunkwe, who was one of the best artists to ever come out of the Province,” Diseko said.

NCDSAC spokesperson Morapedi Sekhoane said yesterday that while the department had been approached by CCIFSA and other concerned artists, it was “regrettable” that the department did not have approved policy nor financial means to assist each artist and sports person who passed away.

“It will be unaffordable and not within our core business to do such as funds are allocated to the department for service delivery. The department, however, sympathises with the plight of the artist and we have initiated a process of voluntary contributions from staff members and other stakeholders in response to the dire plight of the deceased,” Sekhoane said.

He added that Sekunkwe’s work, which was procured directly from him while he was still alive, had been widely distributed and exhibited in the department’s public offices and during exhibitions.