Writing Art History Since 2002

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Ngulube talks about his experiences as a Pastor, and the traces of himself in his work for upcoming solo show, ‘Traces’ at Candice Berman Fine Art Gallery.

BermanImage1Nkhosinathi Thomas Ngulube, Social Protest / Mental Guernica, 2016. Oil on Paper 1100 x 1500 mm.

ART AFRICA: You say that your core inspiration is found in your understanding of the Holy Writ – can you please explain how your profession as a pastor has influenced your work?

NKOSINATHI NGULUBE: In my calling as a Pastor – to preach Christ and win souls for Him – l glory in the revelations of The Holy Writ. Simultaneously, my profession as an artist is to express what l understand to be and what l find myself relating to, such as the Holy Writ.

I regard fulfilment as expression of creativity – revealing what I feel, and how I think.

For me, it is reminiscent of preaching and not being inclined to impose my beliefs on my audience, but rather a consented acceptance between Pastor and congregation, artist and viewer.

I have learnt to be satisfied by what l do, rather than by others’ expectations – so when l preach and create art, l do not do it for selfish reasons but rather for purpose.

You have exhibited locally, nationally and internationally – has this exposure impacted on your art making process in any way, and in turn, the meaning of your work?

I am blessed to have a style that is appreciated the world over. Being exposed to numerous great works of art and artists has truly influenced and elevated the quality of my work.

In most places l have been fortunate to exhibit, it has been hard work and not luck that has paid off – and an aspect of the art industry that has certainly impacted on myself and my work was finding myself as the subject of my work. Previously, l only ventured in multiple directions that made me lose focus for my work and its meaning.

BermanImag2Nkhosinathi Thomas Ngulube, C’est La Vie, 2016. Oil on paper, 700 x 1000 mm.

In your solo exhibition, ‘Traces’, you say that the body of work has become an abstract biography of your life, where “hints, hues, and avenues of the evidence that deeply mark your life course are executed on paper”. Can you please tell us more about how you emphasise your ‘trace’ in art?

‘Traces’ deals with the emotional values and experiences of where l have been, what I have done, and where l currently am, what l am currently doing. The work focuses largely on the emotions triggered by such events, rather than the imagery, and therefore I have chosen to reduce the visual content.

My feelings, emotions and experiences become more evident as l find fulfilment in expressing them onto my canvasses.

‘Traces’ is the culmination of artworks you have been working on for quite a few years now, and you have expressed that the exhibition also explores notions of darkness and light. How is this reflected in your body of work, and how do the chosen mediums communicate this meaning?

I have reconciled darkness with light in the hope of communicating an ambience that reflects my own beliefs, and the Holy Writ. In so doing, l have derived my own trusted conclusions, and understanding of the contrast between light and darkness.

I have used both elements quite dramatically, and through abstract organisation of my compositions, to convey the message. I also synergize text, colour and sculptural in vigorous depictions to communicate these notions – unarguably they go hand-in-hand.

BermanImage3Nkhosinathi Thomas Ngulube, Yellow Love, 2016. Oil on paper 1000 x 700 mm.

You worked predominantly with sculpture and painting for ‘Traces’ – are these your main mediums of practice, or have you been trained in any other form of artmaking?

Traces of my evident existence and experiences have been depicted in all of my work for ‘Traces’, and this particular solo exhibition has been a sort of ‘worship’ of painting.

I cannot sculpt and paint in the same process, and besides, l haven’t sculpted for the several years. I have been painting, printmaking and mould-making – so it is only this year that l can possibly embark on a sculpting spree, and maybe, just maybe do some print-making on my tiny etching press.

‘Traces’ opens from 30 March at 18:30, and runs until the 13th of April 2017. 

Candice Berman Gallery
Riverside Shopping Centre,

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