Who is Tyrone Appollis?
|Cape artist Tyrone Appollis strikes a pose next to the sculpture he made for the Heritage Project’s memorial to the poet Ingrid Jonker. Picture courtesy of Lesley Perkes.
A professional artist since the late 1970s, Tyrone Appollis works from the conviction that "an artist must be of his time".
Often playful and always accessible, Tyrone Appollis's art is rooted in his geographic identity as a Capetonian, in his historic identity as a "coloured" person, in his post-apartheid national identity as a South African, in his non-racial identity as an African, and in his humanistic identity as a member of a global community of artists.
Born in Cape Town in 1957, Appollis studied art part-time at the Community Arts Project (under Cecil Skotnes) and at the Foundation School of Art in Observatory.
In addition to wide recognition for his visual art, he is also well known for his abilities as a poet and musician.
"Of course, one should not forget Appollis the musician and Appollis the creative writer," writes Mario Pissaro in an essay written for Botaki, a 2005 exhibition. "Indeed his works fuse painterly, literary and musical elements, and could be considered as songs, poems and short stories as much as they are paintings, and it should not come as a major surprise that he cites Bob Marley as a major influence on his work, amidst the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Gerard Sekoto."
"I consider political and social reconciliation to be an integral part of art," says Appollis. "A cross-cultural dialogue, personal therapy and as communication to God. All my compositions are, in one way or another, autobiographical. I portray an array of continuous movement, animating featureless townships with colourful shacks and folk on the streets dancing, vending, making music and occasionally fighting."
Appollis's work is represented in several public and private collections in South Africa and abroad.