Frances Schandera-Duarte

Frances Schandera-Duarte was born in 1975 in Germany. She studied Fashion Design in Schneeberg / Germany. After creative periods in Kazakhstan and Switzerland, Frances completed a postgraduate course at the University of Fine Arts in Dresden / Germany.

She works as a freelance artist and lives with her husband and daughter in Germany and South Africa.

1993 – 1997 studies at the Technical College of Applied Arts in Schneeberg / Graduate Designer (FH)
1998 – 2002 freelance designer and artist
2002 – 2003 lecturer at the Kazakh-Turkish Jassawi University in Shymkent / Kazakhstan
2004 – 2006 postgraduate studies at the College of Fine Arts in Dresden with Prof. Doris Tietze
since 2007 art dialogue with South African artist Everett Duarte (pseudonym “Mpenja”)


I grew up in East Germany in a small town near Dresden. As a child, I spent a lot of time dreaming about traveling as this was a big issue in East Germany. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, East and West Germany reunified into a single German state. I suddenly had all the opportunities to explore the world. After finishing my studies in Fashion Design I worked for a small but very artistic fashion label in Zurich / Switzerland. Then the opportunity of spending two years in Shymkent / Kazakhstan came along. Kazakhstan has a breathtaking landscape with beautiful mountains and deserts, all very inspiring for an artist. An art project with street children brought me to South Africa in 2005 where I met my husband, the artist Everett Duarte.

I first trained as a fashion designer. The most important skills I gained from my studies are my sense for colors, forms and proportions. The inspiration of almost all my pieces comes from nature. I often dream about my work. I guess subconsciously my mind takes me back to a places or an object I have seen and creates an image which I then transfer into a painting. Usually all falls into place during the process. I absolutely love painting. I feel very close to my core when I am creative. I enjoy experimenting and I like to break free from the traditional use of paint. I use glue with Japanese paper, gauze and sand to design my surfaces. On top of it I add paint, ink and water which generates unusual bubbles and structures. I do have an idea when I start but this also very often changes during the process. I respond to things that happen rather than pursuing a stringent plan.

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