Self-taught artist Celimpilo Dlamini was born in 1983 in Simunye, Swaziland. He enjoyed drawing when he was a child, and was introduced to painting when he took art as a subject in high school. After high school he attended Waterford Kamhlaba United World College for one year, and then started pursuing a science degree at the University of Swaziland. Apart from his one art class in high school, Celempilo acted as his own artistic mentor, reading about art mediums and artists and trying his hand at techniques and ideas.
Celimpilo’s preferred medium is oil on canvas. He says “I like the variety of effects that can be achieved with it and also the richness of color.” He enjoys painting landscapes, people, and still life. His aim is never, however, to duplicate reality on canvas but rather to produce a beautiful and well-painted painting. “I like to keep it loose and free, using as large a size of brush as possible for as long as possible throughout a painting, without much attention to intricate details.”
Celimpilo is inspired by a desire to make ‘well-painted paintings’ – and sometimes the subject matter is secondary. “I always set out to make a beautiful painting and sometimes that is all there is to it. Any other motivation for painting usually follows after this.” He recalls that even when looking at other artists’ work, he notices the quality and beauty of the painting before looking for the symbolism or message behind it. “I usually don’t even look at the title of art work until I have taken everything I can get from it without being guided by the title.”
Celimpilo is one of the most promising painters in Swaziland. His brushstroke is completely unique and is often reminiscent of impressionist painters. He has a wonderful ability to capture the atmosphere of an environment or the character of an individual.
Celimpilo has exhibited work in a number of exhibitions at Yebo! and participated in an exhibition at the King Sobhuza Memorial Park during the 2010 FIFA world cup.
“I paint because I want to, as opposed to all the things I find I don’t want to do. When I first started seeing the work of great artists of the past I always thought “wow, how do they do that?” and I wanted badly to learn how. I look forward to starting each new painting and seeing it at its completion and then starting another one intending to make it better than the last. Painting is the one thing that I know I want to keep getting better at. I will always paint because of this desire.”
The following pieces have been displayed on various exhibitions at Yebo! Contemporary Art Gallery since February, 2011.