Image Source: https://www.iol.co.za/
A Western Cape province teenager never imagined his year’s work for his art class would make him a social media sensation.
Celeste Arendse, a visual arts teacher at Schoonspruit Secondary School in Malmesbury who has been in the profession for 20 years, was so impressed by Cohnwille Swarts’ work, she decided to share it with the world via Facebook.
The post showcasing the work of one of Arendse’s most talented students, which she took from Swart’s exhibition for this year, has since gone viral.
“The art I shared was of his Grade 12 work, which consisted of four art pieces and one exam piece to be submitted for the year,” Arendse told the African News Agency (ANA).
“Every year we usually have an exhibition for students in the school hall and parents and members of the community are able to view their work. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exhibition was only available for the classroom and held in my class.
“Seeing his work, I could not see this alone. This work would go to the Western Cape Education Department for moderation but before that I had to show others just how talented he is,” she added.
Grade 12 student Swarts, aged 18, is from Abbotsdale, a small town just outside Malmesbury.
He said he derived inspiration for his drawings, which have the theme: Poverty, from “where I live; my environment, my home circumstances”.
The shy and quiet boy’s attention to detail and perfect eye is what makes his art even more captivating.
“I have always loved drawing, I have been drawing since I was in Grade 3. I love it because I know this is my talent. My dream has always been to become an artist,” Swarts told ANA.
Being a Grade 12 pupil preparing for high school ending exams has been challenging for all pupils across South Africa after Covid-19 disrupted the calendar, with physical classes coming to a halt for several months during a nationwide lockdown.
Swarts has had to endure much more heartache than most.
“I lost my mother during the lockdown and I lost my father quite a few years ago, so at the moment I am living with my grandmother and uncle,” he said.
His proud teacher describes him as a soft spoken young man who has always had potential. The past year has seen him excel beyond his years, she says.
“As you know one walks a path with children and last year I saw Cohnwille’s level of art but in the last year I pressed him to produce to see the best in him,” Arendse said.
“I am very impressed by his work. I have had amazing students in the past but for someone so young to be on this level means he can only prosper.”