Fortune Sitole’s “Art of the Township” Debuts in Hobart Hall

Works by Fortune Sitole adorn the walls of Hobart Hall, bringing life, color, and the artist's unique perspective to ABSW
By Jeff Kunkel, Curator, Adjunct Faculty, ABSW Writing Consultant

Fortune Sitole was born and raised in Capetown, South Africa, and his art work is a reminder of day-to-day life in black South African townships. He sees his work as an homage to his ancestors, family, community, and to people all over the world who are poor. 

Fortune’s art features far off mountains, blue or orange skies, and dirt streets. His work offers us a peek down these streets, and we see rows of makeshift shanties, which optimize outside space and are built with leftover materials – metal, tires, and stone.  We see women washing clothes or carrying water, children playing games, and men without work.  We see poverty and hardship.  We also see ingenuity, color, and resiliency. 

Taking his cue from shanty builders, Fortune builds his paintings with leftover materials – plywood scraps, aluminum cans, sand, wire. His Oakland studio, part of  the American Steel Building on Mandela Parkway,  is piled high with the found materials he uses in his paintings.  He is committed to making work which is affordable and accessible.  All of the work in this exhibit is for sale.

Fortune is a self-taught artist who exhibits his work at art fairs across the American West, which he drives to in an old, burgundy van weighed down with his work.  His work is often featured in the Art of Living Black, an annual group show at the Richmond Art Center, and he has an upcoming show at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

The Art of the Township is the first show featured in ABSW’s beautiful Hobart Hall gallery-hallway, which was originally designed by Julia Morgan. This artshow will be publicly featured during ABSW’s Leadership Conference this October, with a special “Meet the Artist Reception” on Wednesday, October 26 at 4:00 PM. To register for this conference, visit The exhibit will remain in the gallery through the Fall 2011 semester.

If you would like to see more of Fortune Sitole’s work, you can go to If you would like to purchase a painting or make a comment, please contact Jeff Kunkel at

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