That Nicholas Hlobo opens his solo show at Art Basel Miami Beach this Thursday, is remarkable. Remarkable because it was just over a decade ago that this South African visual artist’s maiden solo opened at Cape Town’s Stevenson Gallery, beginning a journey that has garnered an international fan base, countless awards, residencies and new shows.
Using sculpture, performance art and mixed-media paintings, Hlobo probes his own reality as a post-apartheid artist, reflecting his identity as a gay black man with Xhosa ethnicity.
Weaving, melding, stitching and shaping his works, Hlobo’s oeuvre is labour intensive, deeply personal and serves to open wounds that many would rather not acknowledge. His tools of communication include leather, ribbon, wire and rubber detritus - all materials that lend his pieces a magnetic tactility.