Frances Schandera (German) and Everett Duarte (South African) are an artist duo based both in South Africa and Germany.
Together with their combined creative talents, they have brought about Mpenja.
These two talented artists manage to distill the powerful essence of Africa into their work. The result is an intriguing recollection of a raw continent.
Mpenja conceptually originated at a small nature reserve south of Durban called Mpenjati. Keeping the love that they both share of Africa at the heart of their work, they decided on applying and African nom de plume to their work. This also distinguishes the work from their individual abstract work.
Frances and Everett began working on Mpenja in an old garage in 2007 on the east coast of South Africa. Their work is inspired by Africa. Travelling and painting together allows the artist couple to comment from two perspectives on the same subject.
Their inspiration is drawn from observing the glorious African environment, her people and it’s colours and textures. The paintings are a mixture of abstract shapes and realistic details allowing discovery on the viewers behalf.
Their visual diaglogue is achieved by using paint, exposed images and brush marks as reactions and counter reactions to each other. This process consists of many layers creating depth and transparency to the work.
Their early work tended to follow a more abstract route and now some years later, their work has a distinctive composition, with unfolding stories for the viewer to discover. The decision to live in both countries of their origins has significantly increased the strength of both of their careers. Being true to the surroundings, Mpenja is only created in South Africa. When the couple are in Europe they paint in their individual abstract styles. The quality of contemporary art and culture in Europe, along with Africa’s visual strength, provides Frances and Everett with an abundance of fresh stimulation.
Mpenja has private and corporate collections in Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.
Frances Schandera (born in Mittweida, Germany in 1975)
1993 – 1997: Degree in fashion design at the University of Applied Arts in Schneeberg, Germany.
1998 – 2001: Co-founder of award winning fashion label ‘Mutare’ – established in Chemnitz, Germany.
2002 – 2004: Lecturer at the Jassawi University (Shymkent, Kazakhstan).
2005 – 2007: Masters Degree in Art Therapy at the University of Fine Art (HFBK) in Dresden, Germany.
Everett Duarte (born in Tsaneen, South Africa in 1980)
1998: Matriculated at Pietermaritzubrg College, South Africa.
1999 – 2001: National Diploma in Graphic Art at Technikon Natal, Durban, South Africa.
2006 – 2007: University of Fine Art (HFBK) in Dresden, Germany with Prof. Ralf Kerbach.
2007: Selected as Young International Artist of our generation in Kunst Ausstellung in the Haus Der Kunst in Munchen, Germany.
(Shortened version – 2000 to present)
Solo at KZNSA Gallery in Durban, South Africa.
Solo at gallery Papillion in Bern, Switzerland.
Solo at Munsingen Castle, Switzerland.
Solo at IMA Design Village in Berlin, Germany.
RedEye at Durban Art Gallery, South Africa.
Wine Estate Stallmann Hiestand in Frankfurt, Germany.
Decorex Cape Town, ICC, South Africa.
German trend setter Award, Dusseldorf, Germany.
Marianne Brandt Award, Germany.
Young International Artist of our Generation at ‘Haus der Kunst’ in Munchen, Germany
Audi TT Art Car Dresden, Germany.
Wildlands, ICC Durban, South Africa.