Fortune Sitole is an artist originally from South Africa, whose pieces create portraits of everyday life there — playing ball, jumping rope, walking to school, washing, music and dancing.  Sitole uses wood, sand, aluminum, oil and acrylic paint, sticks, bottle caps and other recycled materials to reflect the makeshift quality of survival for many of his countrymen. The expansive size and sculptural quality to many of his pieces gives the viewer the sense that they are walking along the streets. 

Sitole explains that “Shanties exist throughout the world and my art actually tells a story of the universality of poverty.  The characters in my scenes are about communities who have overcome adversity and have progressed into the 21st century. Complex dimensions allow a peek down streets at women washing clothes, children playing, girls braiding hair and wandering drunken fathers.  Pictures of everyday events, ironically set against the backdrop of vivid dawns and dusks, reflect the darker issues of economic enslavement, discrimination, poverty and hardships.

“Shanties are slowly disappearing from South Africa’s landscape.  Redevelopment and investment begin to paint a brighter picture for the future of South Africans, an encouraging example for the people of the world who are experiencing poverty today.”


Fortune Sitole began sculpting in clay and wire when he was five years old, and began painting when he was 12. He has sold his work in major cities all over America.  A recent transplant to a studio in West Oakland, his work has been categorized as Folk Art, Raw Art, Township Art and Green Art.


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