Andre Guichard, born in 1966, is an artist, curator, and co-owner of Gallery Guichard fine art gallery in Chicago. He has had the privilege of being exposed to art through the eyes of his father who painted throughout his childhood. His cousin, the late great outsider artist, William Dawson, also inspired Andre’s artistic influence.
Guichard has been painting professionally for over twenty-years. His works can be found in over 2000 corporate and private collections nationally and internationally.
Most recently, in 2013, Andre has been the art juror for the Old Town and Wells Street Art Festival, lead art juror for the Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity art competition and has created commemorative paintings for the Bill Berry Awards commissioned by The Chicago Urban League for the past 3 years presented to Louis Gossett Jr., Jessie Jackson Sr., Rev. Willie Burrows, Phylicia Rashad, and Patti LaBelle.
Andre has been the national curator for the Bacardi USA brand Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, working with Russell and Danny Simmons, and helping to promote artists from around the country. He has merchandised his art on canvas tote bags sold around the country in 7,000 Walgreen Stores. Andre is currently preparing for his second year as gallery director and one of the selected artists on the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage cruise due to set sail in March.
I was deeply moved during my first visit to a township called Alexandria. During my subsequent visits to South Africa, I started to see many parallels between civil rights and apartheid. After visiting local shebeens and experiencing other aspects of the culture, I felt an even deeper connection.
Unbeknownst to me, Bernadette was undergoing her own similar journey, which has made the creation of this work for the book cover most special.
One of our first South African exchange artists—who came with a project known as The Bridge to Chicago—was Lubabalo Valisa. Lubabalo’s fired ceramic houses were so realistic and had the look and feel of township houses. I was amazed how he was able to replicate the feeling of the zinc structures. The cover painting utilizes one of his ceramic homes (collages into the rubble) as the house that is being destroyed by the bulldozer. It was the “icing on the cake.”
My name is Lubabalo Valisa. I am 32 years old and was born in Port Elizabeth in a small township called Walmer Township. I then grew up in various places, moving from township to township as my mom never owned a place of her own. During my first year at high school, my teachers saw my artistic talent. I eventually went to college and completed a National Art Diploma in Fine Art. I did painting, stained glass, print making, graphic design, and my major was sculpture. I enjoyed sculpture a lot, but it was difficult for me since materials were too expensive. This caused me to have limited chances to explore more techniques. I did bronzing, carving, concrete casting, and resin. Upon completion of the fine art Diploma, I found a love for ceramics and explored the clay material. I was fascinated with how cheap the material was and, most of all, the variety of finishes one could achieve with clay. I went to do a National Diploma in Ceramics Design.
I have worked as both an assistant curator and curator for the Eastern Cape Department of Sport Arts and Recreation art exhibitions. The Highlight of that was when we curated an exhibition in Germany for the opening of Parliament in Hanover. I had my first solo exhibition in Bronzeville, Chicago. I was hosted by the owners of Gallery Guichard, Andre and Francis Guichard. I had a powerful opening of the exhibition. The reception was so overwhelming. I was glad that, due to my visit in Chicago, more township artists got an opportunity to exhibit in Chicago.
Currently I am a third year Law Student. I still am involved in the arts. So to all the Chicago art lovers: brace yourselves and keep your wallets ready for some Fine Ceramics from Walmer Township.
Contact: +27 84 827 3926
Address: 88 Hani Street, Walmer Township, Port Elizabeth South Africa 6070