About Amy Ayanda

Amy sits in a chair in her studio

Amy Ayanda Lester is an artist and musician based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her paintings and prints draw inspiration from the local landscape, its flora and colours and people. Images of proteas, fynbos and the familiar silhouette of a mountain recur in both her illustrative work and her more impressionistic canvas pieces. In subject, she returns often to her great grandmother’s flower farm in Constantia from which the family was forcibly removed in the1960s under the Group Areas Act.

Over the past decade, Amy has dedicated herself to her practise of painting and music, seamlessly intertwining these artistic expressions to create a rich tapestry of storytelling and has grown a massive following and community. Her artistic journey from Michaelis School of Fine Art began in themes centered around belonging and longing in the context of South Africa, both in tangible and imagined spaces which we cannot otherwise access and wish to hold. Rooted in the rich landscapes of Constantia, her works often reflect the profound connection she maintains with this land because of Christine Lester, a flower grower from the land. More broadly, her work explores connection and the losses we grow into. 

Solo exhibitions:

Thumb-suck, Ground Art Cafe, Cape Town, December 2022
Yesterday’s Fire: A Print Retrospective, Ogūn, Cape Town, February 2020
Return to Land, Return to Skin, Ground Art Café, Cape Town, July 2019
I LOVE PLANTS SO MUCH, Ground Art Café, Cape Town, January 2017

Selected group exhibitions:

2021African Feminism: Home of The Empties, Goethe-Institut South Africa

2021 2020Home is Where The Art Is, Zeitz MOCCA 2018Close Encounters, SMITH STUDIO, Cape Town 

Splinter, Stay Home Gallery, Online 2020

Close Encounters, SMITH STUDIO, Cape Town, July 2018

Ebb-And-Flow: A collection of works by Amy Ayanda and Leigh Tuckniss, Repeat After Me, Cape Town, June 2017

What Art is FOR: A group show, 169 Victoria, Cape Town, April 2017

Cape Town Art Fair, Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town, February 2017

Folly, SMITH STUDIO, Cape Town, January 2017

Symbiosis: A group show, Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town, May 2016

Selected features:

Living Space 2023

Woman and Home 2023

VISI Magazine 2022

2019 “Motherhood in Motion: Amy Ayanda Lester’s ‘Return to Land, Return to Skin’ ” Artthrob 

Marie Claire 2018

At Home with Amy Ayanda, The Way of Us 2017

Amy Ayanda: The Many Layers of Womxnhood, Texx and the City; Interview with Amy Ayanda, The Fuss