n i c h o l a s   h l o b o

“I try to create arguments and narrations through my works which explore certain questions about my culture as a South African. These arguments become a way of observing how the themes of masculinity, gender, race and ethnicity are perceived” (Nicholas Hlobo).
Hlobo (b. Cape Town 1975) is a young artist of the Xhosa ethnic group whose work is developed through two converging needs. On the one hand criticism of the prejudices and rigid principles governing collective life in his culture of origin which leave the individual with little freedom of choice; schemes and prejudices which are actually subtended by a great number of ideological cultural representations that turn around the concept of “identity”, even outside his world of origin. On the other hand his work is nourished by a language and an artistic imagination – with everything related thereto – which cannot exclude the wealth of Xhosa culture and language and which Hlobo uses with great associative freedom, inserting elements of subversion, overturning and irony. 
His sculptures, mainly in rubber, leather, wood, fabric and ribbons (all recycled materials), take the form of objects that are inspired, with aesthetic results of great originality, by the notions of foreigner/difference/nature/domination/submission. Notions which in Hlobo’s conception are obliged to cohabit and transform themselves continually through new forms, interweaves and playful metamorphoses, thus losing all fixity and claim to absoluteness.


Nicholas Hlobo is the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2009

Tate Modern presents a solo show by Nicholas Hlobo at Level 2 Gallery from 9th December 2008 to 29th March 2009

Nicholas Hlobo has been selected for inclusion in the 2nd Guangzhou Triennal, China. Until 16th November, 2008

Nicholas Hlobo’s solo show Momentum 11 takes place at Boston Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) until 26th October, 2008