BLESSING NGOBENI

Blessing Ngobeni wins Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts

November 20, 2019

Congratulations to Blessing Ngobeni for winning the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts in 2020. 

This year marks 36 years of Standard Bank’s sponsorship of the SBYAA and sees each winning young artist receiving a cash incentive, as well as a commission to premiere a new work or exhibit on the Main Programme of the 46th National Arts Festival, taking place in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) from 25 June to 5 July 2020. 

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“Art freed me from imprisonment.” An unexpected brush with destiny

September 6, 2019 - Beautiful News

 

This artist freed himself from imprisonment in the most unexpected way.

Was it luck, or destiny? Blessing Ngobeni could never have predicted his path to becoming a revered artist. Raised in an abusive household, Ngobeni ran away as a child and made it to Alexandra, where he joined the wrong crowd. At the age of 15, he was arrested for robbery and spent nearly six years in prison. It could have been rock bottom. Yet it was here that Ngobeni discovered his talents. Out of boredom, he started sketching fellow inmates’ portraits. Realising he could improve his capabilities and make a life for himself, Ngobeni began an astonishing journey to liberation. “Perhaps the universe wanted me to become an artist,” he says.

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Anatomy of (Collective) Apathy: Blessing Ngobeni’s ‘Enemy of Foe’

March 2, 2018 - Scott Eric Williams | ARTTHROB

‘Preoccupations’ is a word which arises repeatedly in descriptions of Blessing Ngobeni’s work and throughout the gallery text accompanying his exhibitions. In ‘Enemy of Foe’ –  the artist’s latest exhibition at CIRCA Cape Town – Ngobeni’s preoccupation take the form of a diligent study of political societal decay. A proper viewing of this body of work reflects a near textbook-like study, not just of one particular political structure, but a collection of flawed political strategies; a survey of past and present structures which are presented to us as detailed cross-section diagrams.

This scrutiny gets going straight from the Vinyl Text. ‘Enemy of Foe’ has a correlation with the expression ‘An Enemy of my enemy is my friend’. Through the use of this simple phrase our minds race to recall soured relations caused by succession battles for the South African presidency and similar happenings around the position of Cape Town mayor.

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