The exhibition presents a number of works that show how Nicholas Hlobo uses sculpture, installation, performance and drawing to address issues of gender, cultural difference and contemporary politics. The foundation to most of sculptural installations, drawings and performances reference his Xhosa cultural roots and his sexual identity. His work interweaves a great variety of recycled materials such as inner rubber tubes of cars, cloth, ribbon, thread, latex silicone and wood. They vary in scale from small hand-size objects to large room installations.
Nicholas Hlobo’s work implicates viewers in the scenario of his South African culture. They provide enough clues to bridge the differences between his local cultural sensitivities and those of a global art world. He invites one to read his world through the visual play of materials and the poetry of his titles that touch global and South African realities. All Hlobo’s work is titled in his mother tongue Xhosa to engage viewers in the act of cultural translation. Hlobo’s works sits at the interstice between Xhosa tradition and South Africa’s new democratic reality. Sculptural installations become a resource from which viewers can retrieve knowledge about both the past and present worlds. Hlobo’s performances move between the sacred and the profane, the every day and the traditional past. They weave the real into the supernatural and question the morality of conventional beliefs.
A complete list of 36 works for the exhibition is attached. Works from the last five years is the focus of the curation and includes three important sculptural installations, over 20 drawing, paintings, artist’s books and 8 performance works.