Cohnwill Swarts takes the art world by storm
18 November 2020
A social media post by Celeste Arendse, a Visual Arts teacher at Schoonspruit Secondary School in Malmesbury, about one of her learners’ artworks went viral and her star student gained overnight recognition.
Arendse said she simply had to share Cohnwill Swarts’ talent with a broader audience after the annual exhibition of learners’ work had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, learners had to submit a digital art portfolio for moderation. Arendse said after viewing his final portfolio, she felt compelled to let others know how proud she was of Cohnwill’s commitment to his work. “This boy lost his mother during lockdown and still he gives his utmost best... This is why I do what I do... because of kids like him,” Arendse wrote on Facebook.
The unassuming 18-year old is from Abbotsdale, just outside Malmesbury where he lives with his elderly grandparents after the death of his father at a young age and the recent passing of his mother. He is currently focussed on his matric exams and Arendse fields most of the requests for media interviews and offers for bursaries and other opportunities that the exposure generated.
She is adamant that she doesn’t want him to be a shooting star or to be exploited. While he is undoubtedly talented, she is especially proud of how hard he has been working to develop his skills.
Arendse said she encountered many success stories in nearly two decades of teaching Creative Arts and Visual Arts to learners at Bergrivier High School in Wellington and Schoonspruit Secondary School. “It is important for me to invest in children, especially those from rural areas. I have high expectations of my learners and believe that there are no limits to what they can achieve if they put in the effort.”