text by Catherine Terblanche | images courtesy: Candice Berman Fine Art Gallery | photographer: Nina Lieska – Repro Pictures

Nkhosinathi Thomas Ngulube lives in Cape Town where he practises as an abstract artist. He maintains that he is universally influenced by art and that the hustle and bustle of life in the city inspires him. He notes: ‘I stand in the middle of it and observe its crookedness, its beauty, its mysterious people from all over Africa and the globe.’

There is added inspiration in his work from religious Gospel stories and in some instances aspects of nature. Ngulube is intrigued by the notion of female qualities, he describes the elements that continually impact him: ‘Her unique strengths, her passion, her masterpiece figure, her patience and her dramatic birth-giving experiences; these inaugurate, unify and balance the conflicts within my own creative space.’

The artist practises in several mediums, namely sculptural work, printmaking and painting. His process of creation breaks away from naturalistic renderings as he feels his analysis, his very opinion of art is founded on the reduction of visual facts. He states: ‘I gain great stimulus through my love of art, what I believe in, what I know and what is happening around me on a daily basis. All these factors contribute to formulating my experiences and therefore my work.’

His concepts are motivated by the immediacy of existence. To create art he feels he must be free within and in order to do so, he says: ‘I must praise my God, which is where my spiritual freedom comes from. So by the hand of the Almighty do I execute my ideas for the masses as a social reformer.’

Ngulube’s style is unique. He often utilises bright colours and soft pastels, integrating dark tones for the subject matter, which subtly become key elements in the composition. This process allows for the subtle movement found in each work, as the composition comes together in a coherent formation. Ngulube typically renders his subject matter in an abstract manner. He says: ‘The title leans into the interpretation of the work.’

For the full article see Habitat #260 July / August 2017 | Subscribe now