Nando’s Chickenland (Pty) Ltd. partnered with Yellowwoods Art – Nando’s Art Initiative

Nando’s restaurants, as well as its sauces and grocery range, can be found around the globe. The restaurants strive to provide patrons with hospitality and a warm South African welcome. Each Nando’s restaurant has its own unique design, but they all have earthy textures and colours reminiscent of their Afro-Portuguese roots, and feature original, local South African art and unique design touches. Nando’s values integrity and quality products and service.

Yellowwoods Art, an amalgamation of Jeanetta Blignaut Art Consultancy and Spier Arts Trust, is a patron to pioneering artists across the continent. Driven by the core belief that artists are the pioneers of our culture, Yellowwoods Art conceives programmes that create opportunities for these artists, thereby facilitating successful art careers. These programmes are supported by a broad base of skills development projects geared at emerging artists, and leading up towards a narrower pool of high-end, sophisticated projects which partner with the best established artists from the African continent. They include, among others, Spier Arts Academy, The Creative Block, and Qubeka, as well as the commissioning of site-specific, architectural-scale artworks.

Since 2001, Yellowwoods Art and Nando’s have been in partnership nurturing local talent, developing artists’ careers, creating access to art and showcasing South African creativity through displaying contemporary African art on the walls of over 1000 Nando’s restaurants in 24 countries world-wide.

The strategic objective of the Nando’s Art Initiative is to demonstrate Nando’s commitment to investing in the people of South Africa, nurturing talent and showcasing their creativity to the world through restaurant and public art installations. Nando’s believes in making a valuable contribution to the creative community, not only through once off purchases, but also by providing regular support and income through various strategic artists’ programmes, developed and managed by Yellowwoods Art. This partnership is building a sustainable social model by elevating the artists’ careers, while at the same time building the value of the Nando’s art collection.

Having the largest collection of South African art displayed internationally (comprising 11 000 pieces from emerging and established artists from various social and economic backgrounds) distinguishes Nando’s from other food chains and builds long term brand equity and value. Installing this collection on the walls of Nando’s restaurants enhances the patron experience and provides increased access to art through a welcoming and non-intimidating environment. The Louvre Museum sees over 8.3 million visitors a year, while Nando’s around the world sees over 80 million. “I feel that the Nando’s Art Initiative project deconstructs the elitist image that art is only for the select few, and it allows many people who would normally not view art to enjoy it while they enjoy their dining experience.” – Henk Serfontein, Artist.

The initiative supports over 320 artists on a regular basis. Nando’s takes a particular interest in young, emerging artists. Its support has enabled many artists to focus full-time on their art and, as a result, become established artists, many of whom have now achieved representation by galleries. Knowing that there is an opportunity for artworks to be handed in monthly and, if accepted into the collection, paid for on the same day, has increased the artists’ productivity and opened up their willingness to explore the creative realm. The more secure environment also allows them to take bigger risks and experience enhanced capacity for freedom of expression: “Having a wife and children and being an artist is very challenging. With Nando’s support… knowing that I’m taking care of them frees me up to devote more energy and time to my art and the creative process.” – Dion Cupido, Artist.

Artists’ skills development is another key aspect of the initiative. The artists are given professional critiques and regular feedback on their artworks by Jeanetta Blignaut, CEO of Yellowwoods Art and curator of the Nando’s art collection. This makes a significant contribution to the growth and development of the artists’ works over time.

One of the most exciting sourcing strategies is a monthly event known as the Chicken Run. Here, the Yellowwoods Art team travel the country in search of work, “inspiring artists to keep on producing new, fresh pieces.” This monthly event takes place in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and will soon include Zimbabwe. To name a few success stories through the ongoing support of the Chicken Run: Ricky Dayolyi has been able to turn his passion for art into a full-time career and is now represented by the prestigious Everard Read Gallery, and Lindile Nagunya has been able to build a house for his family in Khayelitsha and contribute his skills to local community art projects.