Why young people should invest in art according to these Capetonian gallery owners

2020-03-04 18:45 - Gabi Zietsman
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The world of art might seem quite inaccessible if you don't have the funds or know-how - but gallery owners David Endean and Nepheritie Naidoo don't think it should be.

Hosting a charity art auction in Steenberg - a neighbourhood that's likely to attract rich art enthusiasts - Red! The Gallery sells pieces from established artists - some that have been painting for more than 20 years. While they are more interested in promoting established talent, they do want to encourage younger generations to take part in the game of buying art. 

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"Most art never loses value - if you buy correctly," says Endean, who got into the art business 25 years ago when he started buying his brother's work - the late Michael Waters. 

"The first painting I ever bought from my brother, 25 years ago, I couldn't afford it. I gave him R500, an M-Net decoder and a piano. Got the painting, sold it to a friend of mine in London for a thousand pounds, took that money and bought more art from my brother, so when I opened up my gallery 15 years ago I had about half a million rand's worth of art at that point." 

Naidoo - Endean's business partner - however came from a different kind of background. Hailing from KwaZulu-Natal, she says that as an Indian they were never exposed to it - they saw art in museums when they went on excursions with school. 

At the art auction however - in partnership with the Spirit Education Foundation that supports children financially through high school - as a millennial it's difficult to feel like you could invest in art when some pieces are sold off for sums of over R20 000, mostly considered 'a steal' by the energetic auctioneer. 

But Endean and Naidoo want to help expose more young people to art with a new programme that's expected to launch in the next few months. Besides hosting workshops about buying art, they also want to offer under-35-year-olds a payment plan where they can pay for an art piece in instalments - interest-free. 

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david endean and nepheritie naidoo

Nepheritie Naidoo and David Endean of Red! The Gallery. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

The therapy of art

Yet art isn't just about the money - for them it also has a therapeutic element for both the buyer and the artist.

"We've got an artist called Junior Fungai who came to do a Paint Jam at the gallery - it's a sitdown dinner where an artist is painting while everyone is eating - and to get an artist to do that is hard," explains Endean.

"Nine out of ten artists would not want to paint in front of you. There was a client of ours that loves Junior's work and he bought the Paint Jam piece that night and the two of them had such a bonding session over it. At the end of the evening Junior said it was the most prolific moment of the year for him."

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art gallery

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Naidoo agrees with this, especially as she's a lot newer on the art scene.

"What I realised is that you feel the energy of the artist coming through the painting, and when I started to interact with artists, I realised - especially with Fungai - is that they pour themselves out onto the canvas as a form of therapy."

"When I saw the interaction between Junior and his biggest buyer on the night of the Art Jam, I watched an interaction that was so beautiful.

"Art can be used as a form of therapy to express whatever it is you're feeling - whatever the emotions on the inside are, it needs to come out and if you keep suppressing it comes out as negative emotions - so why not put it out on canvas instead?" 

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art auction in red! the gallery

The charity art auction with a painting from Junior Fungai. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

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