Nicholas Hlobo: Scars
Leading South African artist Nicholas Hlobo’s solo exhibition Sewing Saw is ongoing at the Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa. The exhibition will run until January 21, 2017.
Hlobo explains how Sewing Saw expands his personal mythology:
“I am the one who formed that object, if we were to objectify it. I’m also the one who will have to dismantle it. I have to take it apart, dissect it and experiment on it to discover new things out of that process … This work is to deconstruct whatever it is I have constructed so that I get to understand the layers that I might have missed in the process of building that edifice. I was looking at it and I found it to be very proud. The process so far has become so proud that I became ignorant of the important elements that brought it to where it was – so it is time to let my hair down and go out as people do.”
Regarding his works and language, in an interview with Flash Art, he also said:
“My work and the subjects are anchored in my South African identity, and I constantly look at myself and at what it means to be me and to belong to this part of the world. The nationality I feel I belong to, being South African, and how it relates to the world. I’m telling a story about all my identities, so I use the language. It’s not the first time it is used; I am retelling it as though a dancer or musician, where you need to find the voice and the movement in order to fit into this big group telling the story with your own interpretation. The use of Xhosa language is about the process of trying to rediscover and understand this language. For example, if one were to ask me to go into detail about my work in Xhosa, I don’t have a good enough vocabulary. I prefer to talk about my work in English. The languages and cultures are constantly evolving. English is still very predominant and most artists use the English language to title their works. It is a language that continues to be bolder and bolder, and many cultures are taking it in. When I was still studying, I realised I didn’t know Xhosa as well as I should.”
Nicholas Hlobo has staged solo exhibitions at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo (2011), Locust Projects in Miami (2013) and Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague (2016). His work has also been shown at Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, SFMOMA, Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon. His exhibition Umtshotsho, earned him the 2009 Standard Bank Young Artist Award. He was also a finalist for the Future Generation Art Prize (2010).
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