Standard Bank Gallery presents: "Ntsumi Ya Vutomi" solo exhibition by Blessing Ngobeni

By Lindelwa Masuku

Blessing Ngobeni, a remarkable South African contemporary artist, is set to captivate audiences with his upcoming solo exhibition, "Ntsumi Ya Vutomi," at the Standard Bank Gallery from 3 August to 16 September 2023. 

This highly anticipated showcase promises to take viewers on a thought-provoking journey, unveiling Ngobeni's artistic evolution and the powerful themes he confronts in his work.

Blessing Ngobeni, a remarkable South African contemporary artist

Ngobeni's artistic voyage commenced with the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year exhibition, "Chaotic Pleasure" in 2020, where he explored the brutality of black life. 

"Ntsumi Ya Vutomi" builds upon this foundation, presenting a style that is now more lyrical and allusive. His work delves into themes of self-enrichment, the abuse of power, and social injustices prevalent in post-Apartheid South Africa.

“A NOTE FROM ERROR” Blessing Ngobeni’s second exhibition

A turbulent childhood, marked by parental separation and hardship, forged Ngobeni's resilient spirit. At a tender age, he found himself living alone in the bush, escaping from abuse and isolation. After finding his way to Johannesburg, he became involved in crime, leading to a six-year prison sentence. 

However, it was in prison that Ngobeni discovered art's transformative power through the Tsoga (Wake Up) Arts Project. This encounter was a turning point in his life, propelling him to pursue art seriously.

The adversity he faced during his formative years strongly influenced Ngobeni's art. His works are fiercely critical of the country's political elite and the abuse of power. He employs large-scale mixed media paintings that draw inspiration from Surrealism, the chaos of Dada, and the figurative violence of Neo-Expressionism. 

“A NOTE FROM ERROR” Blessing Ngobeni’s second exhibition

His art features compulsive mark-making and overt political references, creating an impactful visual language that resonates with viewers.

"Ntsumi Ya Vutomi" is a testament to Ngobeni's expansive skill set, showcasing his ability to work across various materials, figuration styles, and formats. The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, installations, and video animations, revealing his versatility and artistic ingenuity.

Ngobeni's art is not merely a reflection of his personal journey; it serves as a mirror to the broader socio-political landscape of South Africa. He courageously confronts the reluctance to acknowledge the brutality of black life, inviting viewers to grapple with uncomfortable truths and contemplate the potential for transformation through art.

“A NOTE FROM ERROR” Blessing Ngobeni’s second exhibition

The premise of Ngobeni's work lies in his unwavering belief in the power of art as a transformative tool. 

Having experienced the profound impact of art in prison, he understands how political consciousness is intricately tied to one's lived experience. Through his art, he seeks to give a voice to those who have been marginalised and oppressed, shining a spotlight on social issues that demand attention and action.

“A NOTE FROM ERROR” Blessing Ngobeni’s second exhibition

In "Ntsumi Ya Vutomi," Ngobeni's art transcends its own limits, breaking barriers, and inviting viewers into a realm of raw emotions, confronting realities, and challenging perceptions. The exhibition aims to satiate rather than overwhelm its audience, providing a rich and compelling experience that ignites dialogue and introspection.

As visitors walk through the Standard Bank Gallery, they will encounter the evolution of Blessing Ngobeni's artistic prowess, the resilience of the human spirit, and a profound call for social change. 

"Ntsumi Ya Vutomi" stands as a testament to the transformative potential of art and the enduring power of the human spirit to rise above adversity.

Opening: 3 August 2023 - 16 September 2023

Article Tags

Blessing Ngobeni

Solo exhibition

Ntsumi Ya Vutomi

Standard Bank Gallery


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