BAMBO SIBIYA - Ngemva Kokuqubuka (After Precarity)


jabu shoulders 120 x 220

BAMBO SIBIYA - Ngemva Kokuqubuka (After Precarity)
May 31 – Jul 27, 2024

Bambo Sibiya will present a powerful body of work that imagines a restorative and redemptive world when his solo exhibition, titled Ngemva Kokuqubuka – After Precarity, opens at the CIRCA Gallery in Johannesburg from 1 June to 27 July 2024.

The artist's latest work transcends mere representation of Black and femme subjects. Sibiya inserts the Black figure into luxurious planes of geometric forms and swirling abstractions in a kind of visual rebellion – a precarious equilibrium of chaos and order. An explosive iconography of colour, pattern and texture, taps into the subcultures of music, dance, and fashion.

Each figure is rendered with a captivating blend of beauty, dignity and strength. The subjects’ meticulously styled hair – created and designed by Sibiya himself – takes on a sculptural form, becoming a visual symbol of cultural pride and self-expression, while the use of makeup emphasises the artist's intention to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of the Black gaze. It serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the pervasive media narratives of struggle and poverty often associated with Black communities.

The exhibition doesn't shy away from depicting the complexities of the Black experience, but it does so by prioritising agency and empowerment. The artist invites viewers to engage with the subjects on their own terms, celebrating their individual stories and highlighting their inherent power and resilience.

This shift in perspective is not simply an aesthetic choice; it is a conscious act of artistic resistance. With a focus on joy and self-determination in his muses, the artist challenges the dominant narratives that have historically marginalised and dehumanised Black communities.

A unique element of the exhibition is a dedicated space titled “The Library”. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with a curated selection of materials related to his artistic practice. Notepads and sketches, accessories from photo shoots, experimental drafts, production notes and annotations will function as a window into Sibiya’s creative process.

A steady stream of work has been emanating from Sibiya’s studio – with international collectors acquiring the artist’s distinctively South African work for bespoke collections and private museums around the world – but this will be his first exhibition on home ground in seven years.

“I do not want my identity to be lost in the global artworld,” explains Sibiya, “when I am so firmly embedded in the culture and narrative of South Africa. It is time to celebrate what I am doing in my place of birth – my roots are here and I’m excited to be able to contribute to the re-telling of history as a voice from the Global South.”

Sibiya’s work is not a soothing balm for troubled souls. It’s a provocative interrogation that plunges us into the messy complexity of the world we live in. It is a powerful testament to the human spirit and its capacity to find beauty and resilience amidst the chaos.


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