Nicholas Hlobo

Nicholas Hlobo

The protégé

Published in 2011

“In my works I celebrate being South African. I look at my ethnic identity, gender identity and colonial heritage,” says visual artist Nicholas Hlobo.

Since graduating with a degree in Fine Art from the then Technikon Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Hlobo has demonstrated the singularity of his artistic vision at group and solo shows from Cape Town to Rome and Boston. “The ideas he explores are as deliberate and dense as the stitches he uses to unite his signature materials – rubber, gauze and paper,” observes Kerryn Greenberg, assistant curator at London’s Tate Modern where, in 2008, Hlobo exhibited four works, entitled Uhambo, at the Level 2 Gallery for emerging international artists. The distinctive use of evocative materials is a hallmark of Hlobo’s sculptural installations and performances, which are rooted in his native Xhosa culture and language. Among his latest successes, he won the prestigious 2009 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts, was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize in 2010 and exhibited his art at the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. Most recently, a major retrospective of Hlobo’s work was held at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway. His works were shown in three exhibitions at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Hlobo worked with Visual Arts mentor Anish Kapoor in the 2010-2011 Rolex Arts Initiative.