Visual artist Nicholas Hlobo (b. 1975, Cape Town, South Africa) is an internationally recognized South African creative whose presence in the world is broadening the image and identity of South Africa. His work is firmly grounded in culture, gender and sexuality, history, and identity, namely his own Xhosa, Black, and gay identities. His work is bold, fearless, and encompasses works on paper and canvas, sculpture, installation, and performance.
In one of his performances, Hlobo descends on to a stage of 2 musicians in a white cocoon whilst singing in Xhosa. The backdrop is a video of South African images, with text that discusses his personal history, his family, his artistic modus operandi, and more. Concerning identity, Hlobo writes that he was not fully aware of being Xhosa until he started high school in Johannesburg in 1988. The transition from a monoculture (where he grew up) to multicuture (Johannesburg) sparked this Xhosa consciousness. Yet, despite the admitted violence of Johannesburg, he considers it home, the heart of South Africa, and a city full of potential.
His career as an artist includes solo exhibitions in the Netherlands (Beelden aan Zee in The Hague), Norway (National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design, Oslo), the UK (Tate Modern, London), and the United States of America (ICA, Boston; Locust Project, Miami; SCAD, Savannah). He has also participated in prestigious biennials and group exhibitions in Germany, Italy, the USA, France, Australia, the UK, and China. His work is also included in permanent collections of museums around the world.
"I am my own group. I create my own world. There are so many truths about myself that I don't know." - Nicholas Hlobo
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