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Hlobo's art ascends to a new doorway

Internationally acclaimed fine artist Nicholas Hlobo shows off his artistic abundance in his latest solo exhibition Isango(gateway), which is on at the Stevenson Gallery in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, until January next year.

The exhibition is made up of sculptures, paintings and installations. The new body of work comes after his famous piece, Sewing Saw.

His works revolve around issues of gender, race, ethnicity, power, sexual identity and societal conflict.

With Isango, the Cape Town-born artist proves that he is a master of mystery art.

Isango incorporates religious paraphernalia, plumbing implements, candleholders, wind instruments and door handles among various objects that act as mediators between the spiritual, elemental and somatic.

Isango features works like Iqunjelwe, Wavuthulula, Yakhongozela, Iqhawe Eligenagama, Mphephethe uthe cwaka and Isinqe.

It features copper sculptures and his trademark stitched canvases that are cut and sewed with ribbon and pieces of leather.

Hlobo describes his works as frayed hula-hoops and imperfect crowns.

"I'm stepping through the door and I'm floating in a most peculiar way. perhaps we've ascended to this doorway. Perhaps now I'm about to move, I'm about to alight."

He says the work is a continuation of the energy lines that he explores in flat surfaces.

"I'm still stitching but the material I'm using is an alloy which you heat, so I'm stitching with metal rather than stitching with ribbon."

Hlobo is one of the serious abstract painters in South Africa. He has exhibited his works both locally and internationally.

His works have been shown at art institutions such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington DC.

For his unique work, Hlobo was acknowledged with many awards. He was the first recipient of the Villa Extraordinary Award for Sculpture in 2016.

In 2006 he received the Tollman Award.

He was named the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2009, and was the Rolex Visual Arts Protégé for 2010-2011.

Hlobo has a B-Tech degree from Wits Technikon.

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