Bongani Diko founded Lingacy Art Gallery at 269B Nompondo Street, Joza on 7 September 2017 in honour of his late brother, Linga Diko.
Linga was a visual artist who specialised in linocut prints and beaded works, among other things. He began pursuing his love for visual arts at the age of 14 and qualified in graphic art and textile printing at the Dakawa Art and Craft Centre in Grahamstown.
Linga also exhibited many of his pieces at the Sragow Gallery and at the Axis Gallery in New York and never lost his love for his home town.
“What fascinated me about my brother was that he was passionate about the township and the hardships one endures when born and raised here,” Bongani said. “Anyone who knows the challenges we face here can relate to most of his pieces.”
One of his well known pieces, Plantation, features a field of trees – but when you look closely, the plantation morphs into a ghetto.
It’s with good reason that the gallery is in Joza.
“Opening the art gallery in town would defeat the purpose for which Linga created a lot of his pieces,” Bongani said. “They were about township experiences. This house is where Linga grew up and fell in love with art.”
Bongani believes art has the power to heal. Despite the challenges he has experienced in founding the gallery, he believes it will also be a place where people can heal the wounds of the past and reconcile with people they need to.
Bongani believes the art gallery will outlive him because of the love it received from members of the community.
“This community is one where black consciousness thrives. This gallery shows that in order to change the circumstances of the township, we need to trust ourselves and unite. People have bought pieces and I believe they will continue to.”
The Joza community showed great support for the opening of the gallery. Many came dressed in traditional regalia, thrilled to have a gallery on their doorstep. Bongani says he is grateful for the support he has received from the community, his family and other art galleries.
Lingacy Art Gallery will be open every day from 8am and customers and artists can contact Bongani Diko on 063 494 0727 or go to www.facebook.com/Lingacy Art-Gallery for more information.