COLBERT MASHILE

BIOGRAPHY

COLBERT MASHILE

(b. 1972 Bushbuckridge, South Africa) 

'I come from a place that is shrouded by powerful cultural norms and customs.'

In previous work, Colbert Mashile explored the psychological impact of traditional circumcision and initiation rituals on initiates. As Mashile’s work had developed, he has established a style, technique and iconography that are uniquely his own. Using acrylic water paints and charcoal on thick watercolour paper, he has become known for his earthy colours, precise draftsmanship, and witty and idiosyncratic compositions that combine animal characters and human figures – often in apparently equal-status exchanges. These are also combined with a range of props that often seem unrelated to the scenario depicted, creating a sense of dialogue at the heart of each work. Growing up in the rural areas around Bushbuckridge, Mashile spent his childhood deeply embedded in folk tales and mythology, interacting with animals (he and his friends, for instance, herded goats) and the full range of humanity. Several animals – like goats and baboons – recur throughout his work, and each of these animals has acquired a particular character and symbolic resonance. There are animals that are eaten (goats being the most common) and animals that are never eaten (reptiles). There are animals that are closer to the human world (baboons) and animals that are closer to the spirit world (hyenas). Often Mashile will insert props that have a personal autobiographical significance for him (a box of matches) or his original community (the miner’s hat, for him, represents the challenges of manhood). 

Although his artistic vision is highly individual, Mashile’s art is full of commentary on social and political issues – between the rural and urban, Western and African, physical and spiritual, beautiful and ‘ugly’. He has already established himself as South Africa’s most unique and exciting contemporary artists.    

EDUCATION

2001                       

Master of Arts in Heritage Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

1996-2000             

Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2020    

What I dreamt during times of Drought, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

2018    

As We Are, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

Who Feels It, Knows It, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2017    

Just my Imagination, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

Truth or Dare, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2016      

Man’s Duality (Unearthed) CIRCA, Johannesburg, South Africa

2015      

Beast of Burden NIROX Projects, Johannesburg, South Africa

S'Ka Motho (Just Like Man) SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2013      

Messages from our Ancestors Art Eye Gallery, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa

2006      

Mmawaka Montedi AVA, Cape Town, South Africa

2004      

Tsa Bagale ,Gallery On The Square, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 

2021      

In Conversation, Everard Read, Cape Town

2020    

Staring Straight to the Future, online exhibition, Everard Read, UK & South Africa

The Portrait Show, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

2016      

Opening exhibition, Everard Read, London , UK

2015      

FNB Jo’burg Art Fair, Everard Read Gallery Booth, Johannesburg, South Africa

2006      

Les arts de la Coexistence? Alliance Francaise, Paris, France

Les arts de la Coexistence? Musee des Arts Derniers, Paris, France

New Painting, KZNSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa

New Painting, Unisa Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

DAK'ART, Dakar, Senegal

New Painting, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2005      

Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition 

ABSA L'Atelier Competition Exhibition, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa Johannesburg Sasol New Signatures Competition Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa

Les arts de la Coexistence? Migrations Culturelles, Bordeaux, France 

Les arts de la Coexistence? Médiathèque, Biarritz, France

Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy

2004      

ABSA L'Atelier Competition Exhibition, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition 

A Decade of Democracy: Witnessing South Africa: 2004 -2005, Boston, Smithsonian, Gibbs Museum, Detroit USA

The ID of South African Artists, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Decade of Democracy: South African Art 1994 -2004 from the Permanent Collection, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Making Waves (A selection of works from the SABC art collection) Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Negotiated Identities - Black Bodies, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2003   

Circumcised/Circumscribed, Axis Gallery, New York, USA

New Works, Art Space, Johannesburg, South Africa

Show Me Home, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

A New Collection, Gallery On The Square, Sandton, South Africa

2002     

Insider / Outsider, Art On Paper Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudshoorn, South Africa

2001      

Museum Africa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Art Space Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2000      

ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg UNISA Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

Malangatana in South Africa, Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Bill Ainslie Art Gallery, South Africa

Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudshoorn, South Africa

1998/9  

Martienssen, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

1994      

JHB Art Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

AWARDS

2005      

Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition 

ABSA L'Atelier Competition Exhibition, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa Johannesburg Sasol New Signatures Competition Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa

Les arts de la Coexistence? Migrations Culturelles, Bordeaux, France 

Les arts de la Coexistence? Médiathèque, Biarritz, France

Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy

2004      

ABSA L'Atelier Competition Exhibition, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition 

A Decade of Democracy: Witnessing South Africa: 2004 -2005, Boston, Smithsonian, Gibbs Museum, Detroit USA

The ID of South African Artists, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Decade of Democracy: South African Art 1994 -2004 from the Permanent Collection, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Making Waves (A selection of works from the SABC art collection) Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Negotiated Identities - Black Bodies, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2003      

Circumcised/Circumscribed, Axis, Gallery, New York, USA

New Works, Art Space, Johannesburg, South Africa

Show Me Home, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

A New Collection, Gallery On The Square, Sandton, South Africa

2002     

Insider / Outsider, Art On Paper Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudshoorn, South Africa

2001      

Museum Africa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Art Space Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa 

Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudshoorn, South Africa

2000      

ABSA l'Atelier Merit Prize 

ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg UNISA Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

Malangatana in South Africa, Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Bill Ainslie Art Gallery, South Africa           

ABSA l'Atelier Merit Prize 

1999      

Certificate of First Class: Painting IV, Johannesburg Art Foundation

1998/9  

Martienssen, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

1998    

Certificate of Merit: Outstanding Results in Drawing & Design III

1994      

JHB Art Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa

1992/4  

Certificate in Art Foundation Course  

1989      

Tladishi High School Matric 

 

SELECTED PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

3M

African Life BHP Billiton (Gencor) 

Daniel Erasmus Attorneys 

Durban Art Gallery

De Beers

Oppenheimer & Sons 

Johannesburg Art Gallery 

IBM

MTN Corporation 

NEDCORBank 

SASOL

Limited 

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) 

Stanlib 

The Mandela Foundation

The South African National Gallery University of the Witwatersrand