Colleen Wall describes herself as a mother, wife, artist, sister, daughter and friend. In high school, art was her passion and on leaving school, she was faced with a tough decision: study art formally, or go out into the big wide world to make a living. “Unfortunately, at the time, there was no money to be made in art, so a life of mundane working to pay the bills followed,” she explains.
She moved with her family from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit in 2010 and in July 2012, the urge to paint again kicked in. “I was as poor as a church mouse, and could not afford to go out and buy everything an artist would need to begin. The only thing I had left in my old school art box was some paint brushes.” She Googled natural paints, and came across a few rudimentary coffee paintings. Armed with her tin of Ricoffy, she made a paint and began tapping into her creative side again.”
In 2013 she joined Anne Watt’s art classes. “I have always been a perfectionist painter, detail driven and meticulous. I was desperate to learn how to paint more freely. I haven’t mastered it yet, but I am starting to find a path that I think I’d like to explore. Through experimentation and constant learning, I’m discovering a completely different side to my art. And loving it.”
Colleen had the idea for the co-operative gallery while she was considering opening up a small shop to sell her recycled / upcycled furniture. “Hoedspruit is overflowing with incredibly talented people and I was approached by many artistic friends, asking if I would mind if they displayed a few paintings on the walls. It highlighted the desperate need for local artists to exhibit their art.”
She’s hopeful that iNyoka Gallery will serve everyone’s different needs, whether it’s though simple art sales that help put bread on the table, or being afforded the opportunity of a solo exhibit later on. “Either way, it will bring the artists of this town together, as a community.”