Nando’s, an iconic South African brand operates today in more than 15 countries and has close on a 1000 restaurants. Starting with Nando’s UK in 2002, and now encompassing Nando’s worldwide, a symbiotic relationship has developed with the visual arts which has, on the one hand, sustained art practitioners, and on the other, helped to develop Nando’s distinctive brand.
To date, Nando’s contemporary African collection, displayed throughout their restaurants, exceeds 3000 arworks. While producing legendary flame-grilled chicken, and offering a warm, fun and vibrant experience, their focus is to balance their own prosperity with the social and cultural imperatives of their native country.
Nando’s takes particular interest in young, emerging artists. For many, this support makes it possible for them to work full time in their studios. This enables those with the tenacity to become established – with their works being sought after both locally and Internationally.
Nando’s support, often sustained over a long period of time, has also been fundemental in the establishment of a number of creative enterprises. An example of this is the seed funding they provided in 2004 for what is now the Qubeka bead studio (a collective owned by the bead artists themselves). Their ongoing support throughout the years has empowered Qubeka in order to gain traction and become a viable enterprise providing their own entrepreneurial and job opportunities to other prospective bead artists. A second example is their commissioning of Coming to the City, an 18m by 3m mosaic artwork for Nando’s Kings Cross London, as the anchor piece of the collection as a whole. Designed by internationally renowned, South African artist Clive van den Berg and created by Spier Architectural Arts Mosaic Academy, the artwork importantly promotes the work of the Academy by being accessible to the public in such an international location.
As part of Nando’s brand building, they have also supported a number of participatory artist programmes. In May 2011 Nando’s UK launched the first ever exPERImental Sketch event in London to which renowned South African graffiti artist Rasty was invited to participate. This project gave children between the ages of 12 and 18, the chance to try their hand at one of four art disciplines: spray-can, 3D sculpture, ink or screen-printing. In September 2011, five South African artists were nominated to travel to London to meet the Nando’s UK team and familiarise themselves with the brand. Upon return to South Africa these artists are creating artworks that reflect upon their experiences. The best of these artworks will be selected for reproduction on the infamous Nando’s menu covers.
Nando’s future plans include even further involvement in the careers of African artists. Nando’s South Africa aims to provide a number of artist studios and offer a programme of exhibitions and events, artist residencies, international fellowships and educational projects.