Cure :: Blessing Ngobeni

Ngobeni brings with him a unique style and a critique of political regimes, Ngobeni made the corruption, incompetence and duplicity of current South African ruling elite the subjects of his art. He tackles the disconcerting consequences of betraying democratic ideals, the failure to learn from historical tragedies and the expanding gap between the rich and poor. This critique is informed by Ngobeni’s own experience, the hardships and challenges he had to confront as a child and adolescent.

Ngobeni artwork is brought to life by the amazing UJ Choir’s rendition of Adoramus Te Eric Barnum (1979 -) featured on the Sweet Day album. 

About Blessing Ngobeni

Blessing Ngobeni was born in 1985 in a small rural town of Tzaneen in the Limpopo province. At the age of ten, he moved to Johannesburg where, after a tumultuous decade, he entered the contemporary art scene rapidly moving  to exhibiting in major art centres all over the world and taking up international residencies.  . 

As a result of his exceptional work and dedication to his practice, Ngobeni received amongst other Standard Bank Young Artist Award for the Visual Arts in 2019, the Reinhold Cassirer Award (2011), the Impact Award from the Arts and Culture Trust and was listed as one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans.(2013).  He took up residencies in various international cities

Ngobeni is currently advancing his artistic trajectory. In particular, he is expanding his range of creative mediums through producing free-standing and wall-based sculptures, video animations, sound installations and live performances. These developments in terms of medium bring into effect rich content and dynamic expressions to Ngobeni’s art. They also give a curious twist to his hybrid language which points to various references: artists Dumile Feni, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Norman Catherine, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró; the artistic grammar of Surrealism, the rebellion of Dada, the symbolic force of Neo-Expressionism, and the economic use of visual elements of Minimalism. These qualities expand the depth of Ngobeni’s art, equally they articulate effectively its fusion of nightmarish, absurd, beautiful and captivating imageries.

His latest body of work, produced as an outcome of winning the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for the Visual Arts in 2019, will be installed and exhibited at the National Arts Festival in 2021, before beginning its year-long tour of various provincial cultural institutions throughout South Africa.

It is of importance to note that Ngobeni is an artist focusing on more than his own evolving career. His efforts in mentoring young artists have lead him to form two projects that support graduates who are transitioning from their fine art training at tertiary institutions to their careers as full-time artists. The first, in collaboration with the Bag Factory, is the ‘Blessing Ngobeni Studio Art Award’ established in 2017. The second is called ‘Initiative’ and introduces young artists to the art industry through a series of workshops and culminates in an opportunity for them to participate in a group show. This empowering work attests to Ngobeni’s personal and professional contribution to the art world and society at large.