Sam Nhlengethwa, one of South Africa’s most prominent artists, is artist-in residence at the Weltkulturen Museum in July 2015 in preparation for his upcoming major exhibition, ‘A Labour of Love’ (opening 2 December 2015), which is co-curated by Gabi Ngcobo.
During his month-long residency at the Weltkulturen Labor, Nhlengethwa revisits the Weltkulturen Museum’s collection of contemporary South African art – over 600 works that the museum acquired in 1986, produced by black South African artists under apartheid – which includes his works from the 1980s as well as those by equally internationally renowned artists such as John Muafangejo, Peter Clarke, David Koloane, Azaria Mbatha and Lionel Davis.
Nhlengethwa’s exhibition is the first in 28 years that speaks directly to this, one of the major focuses of the Weltkulturen Museum’s collection.
Born in 1955 in Springs, Johannesburg, the artist received his formal training from the Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre and the Johannesburg Art Foundation. In 1994, Nhlengethwa was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year award, and has since exhibited all over the world.
Nhlengethwa’s work is represented in major public and corporate art collections in South Africa and abroad, and his latest projects include ‘Life, Jazz & Lots of Other Things’ at Gallery 1600 at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia, USA (2014), ‘Some Final Tributes’ at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg (2014), as well as having his work featured at the 2013 Biennale di Venezia.
Nhlengethwa was urban-born and therefore relates intimately to the township existence, not only in his collages but also in his prints, “Throughout the years, all my pieces have dealt with the movement of people. I enjoy paying homage to people and places through my art,” he says.
During his time at Weltkulturen Labor, Nhlengethwa will keep a ‘Picture Diary’ on Instagram to give insights into his artistic research at the Weltkulturen Labor, so make sure to follow him @weltkulturen.museum