Young Gugs artist is on cloud nine

Litha is excited about the new equipment he got.

Budding Gugulethu artist Litha Mayiya is on top of the world after receiving an art kit from Lee du Preez, the managing director of BEE Novation two weeks ago.

The kit includes different paints, special art pencils, drawing boards and other art equipment.

The 14-year-old Grade 8 pupil from ID Mkhize High School still cannot believe his luck.

Mr Du Preez came across the 14-year-old’s artwork on Twitter after Litha’s art teacher and mentor, Nompumelelo Rakabe, tweeted about him. She had posted a picture of Litha’s drawing, praising him for his work.

Litha said he started painting when he was seven years old.

His work blossomed when he met Ms Rakabe in 2013, through Project Playground, an initiative dedicated to the upliftment and development of young from disadvantaged areas, through art.

The young artist sold his first piece of artwork to a Scottish buyer at the age of 12. And he was among the first group of emerging artists to showcase their skills at the inaugural Mayor’s First Thursday exhibition held at Artscape Theatre last month.

What he didn’t expect was that his work would be bought by Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

Asked about the future, he told Vukani he would like to study art history and open his own gallery. “One day I would like to own a gallery and sell my artwork to local and international buyers,” he said. Litha said he had always been passionate about art and spent most of his time indoors crafting his drawings.

Focusing on the donation of art equipment he received, he said it would help him to achieve his dream, give him a platform to explore his creative thinking, and challenge himself to create more artwork.

“I don’t have the words to express my gratitude about the equipment. My love for art has paid off. This is surely the beginning of great things to come. It will certainly help me to achieve my dream,” he said.

Mr Du Preez said when he saw Litha’s teacher’s tweet, he immediately wanted to help the artist, got in touch with the teacher and made arrangements to see the boy.

He said: “I am where I am today because of the support I received from other people. So it’s only fair that I also contribute towards realising someone else’s dream.

“I was moved and I told myself that I have to do something to contribute to him achieving his dream. I do not know much about art but I bought equipment that I believe would help him a lot.”

Litha’s mother, Nosipho Mayiya said while she hadn’t really paid much attention to it, she had noticed her son’s interest in art.

She said the equipment would help him to become a great artist. “Sometimes I would buy what he wants but I couldn’t buy such a big and special kit like this. I believe this will change his life,” she said.