Five @ Five: with Nelisa Ndaba.

By: Asande Kubone.

The week’s guest can be best described as a beautiful brown-skinned girl that hides her face behind perfectly hand women hats. She is Nelisa Rose Ndaba, a multi-disciplinary artist who, infuses her love for fashion and visual arts to create ravishig artistry. She is also the co-founder of Amaqamata.studios with Makaziwe Radebe a fellow visual artist. They describe Amaqata studios as, “an odè to all the women we become before ourselves.” We’ve gotten an opportunity to step into her world:

1. Who is Nelisa Ndaba and what is your earliest memory that inspired you to get into design ?

I like to think that I am an artist first. I’ve always been drawn to things that are visually and visibly appealing and in so saying, I’ve always had a good eye in that sense. My earliest memory involved doodling and drawing little models in primary school. I used to show all my friends and be super chuffed that they were so impressed with my extremely amateur work.

2. How would you describe your aesthetics ?

My aesthetics really stems from a place deep down, from a lot of self introspection and self acceptance. I’ve learnt to create what makes me feel whole and what gets me excited. I love the idea of nature and the earth, but not necessarily being outside in a literal sense. I love the textures, the colours, the movement of my surroundings and i guess it has sifted through to my work aesthetic and every day life. Self acceptance and introspection mean a lot to me. The way I ‘hide’ my face comes from a place of understanding myself and the fact that I want people to be more interested in the work I produce or the things i put up. I’d like to be behind the scenes more often than not. I think my “aesthetic” has become more a way of life rather than an aesthetic. This is what comes easy to me, what comes naturally.

3. Would you say your love for attention to detail and earthy tones plays a huge role in your over all aesthetics ?

I think I’m a perfectionist. I’m obsessed with small and intricate details. I think that’s what made me stand out, especially as an artist in high school. The attention to detail definitely lends a hand in terms of my “aesthetic” because I’m so precise. I love certain colours and shapes etc, and that shows in the way I layout or do my work. My colours and shapes and images speak to eachother and they also speak for themselves which is really important to me.

4. You describe yourself as a “multi disciplinary artist”, please unpack this for us.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I am an artist first. Everything I do comes from an artistic standpoint. I saw myself in the visual arts field all my life before I fell in love with fashion. I saw a way to combine these two elements and create something cohesive, that tells a story through art and design without always being literal.

5. If you had to choose between visual arts and design, which one would it be and why?

I think I would chose visual arts over and over again in any lifetime. This is simply because I feel that art and design are one and the same. When I look at the two professions I see a link that is never-ending and so versatile. I never see myself letting go of design, to me, its the same language.

An image painted by Nelisa

Check out more of Nelisa’s amazing content here.

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