Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018

Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View
Sam Nhlengethwa / Waiting/ / 2018
08 November - 01 December 2018
Installation View

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting behind the stage, 2018 Mixed media on canvas Work: 140 x 140 cm

Sam Nhlengethwa

Feya Faku, 2018 Lithograph on Chine-Colle paper

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for a friend I, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for a friend II, 2018 Mixed media on Canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

They are waiting, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

She is waiting, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting inside, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting outside, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Madiba waiting for his freedom, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Winnie waiting for Madiba, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for the Bride, 2018 Oil on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Definitely Waiting for Someone, 2018 Oil on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

(Waiting) ... to be rescued I, 2018 Mixed media on canvas Work: 100 x 140 x 10 cm

Sam Nhlengethwa

...to be rescued II, 2018 Mixed media on canvas Work: 100 x 140 x 10 cm

Sam Nhlengethwa

Phalaborwa Six, 2018 Oil on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for green, 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for the final announcement , 2018 Mixed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Appointment at Spaza Shop, 2018 Colour lithograph

Sam Nhlengethwa

Where are those kids?, 2018 Colour lithograph

Sam Nhlengethwa

One more shot, 2018 Colour lithograph

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for an answer, 2018 Colour lithograph

Sam Nhlengethwa

SASSA?!, 2018 Colour lithograph

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for the Jazz band, 2018 MIxed media on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa

Evening queue, 2018 Mixed media on paper

Sam Nhlengethwa

Home Affairs, 2018 Mixed Media on paper

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for a doctor, 2018 Lithograph on Chine-Colle paper

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for piece job, 2018 Lithograph on Chine-Colle paper

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for Lobola Negotiations, 2018 Lithograph on Chine-Colle paper

Sam Nhlengethwa

Waiting for a baby, 2018 Lithograph on Chine-Colle paper

Sam Nhlengethwa & Marguerite Stephens

The Conversation, 2012 Woven Mohair tapestry

Goodman Gallery Cape Town
11 November – 1 December 2018

Waiting is an exhibition of new work by Sam Nhlengethwa exploring the myriad ways in which we find ourselves occupied by this state of being.

What are we waiting for? In certain works, the answer appears self-evident: an empty stage of instruments on stands overlooking a packed audience, a person loitering beside a pole, a group of commuters on the side of the road. But upon closer inspection of these quotidian scenes, more questions arise. Who is doing the waiting? What qualities do these people share?

For Nhlengethwa this theme emerges from universal experience. ‘We all see people waiting and sometimes we become victims of waiting,’ says Nhlengethwa. By depicting these scenarios through the rich figurative mediums of lithographic prints, mixed media collage and tapestry, Nhlengethwa vividly draws our attention to this distinction, making us acutely aware of the stories of waiting experienced in the everyday lives of South Africans. And through his ongoing depiction of mineworkers, also reflecting the harsh lived realities more hidden from view.

As one of South Africa’s preeminent artists, Nhlengethwa has established himself by conveying this sort of nuance through his work. Over his several-decade career he has employed a signature style of collage that brings together archival material and painting to tackle subjects ranging from cityscapes to jazz musicians, artists and political figures.

This latter subject matter features on Waiting in the form of a collaged sepia photo of a young Winnie Madikizela-Mandela seated in a brightly painted living room. ‘When black and white creeps into the paintings it recalls the past. It is a form of worlds colliding,’ says Nhlengethwa. By incorporating this poignant historic reference into this exhibition, Nhlengethwa reminds us that our past needs to be constantly reevaluated. In this sense we are all waiting for our present history to unfold.

Sam Nhlengethwa

Sam Nhlengethwa was born in the mining community of Payneville Springs in 1955 and grew up in Ratanda location in Heidelberg, east of Johannesburg. He completed a two-year Fine Art Diploma at the Rorkes Drift Art Centre in the late 1970s. While he exhibited extensively both locally and abroad during the 1980s and ’90s, Nhlengethwa’s travelling solo show South Africa, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in 1993 established him at the vanguard of critical consciousness in South Africa and he went on to win the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1994.

Nhlengethwa was born into a family of jazz lovers; his two brothers both collected jazz music and his deceased eldest brother was a jazz musician. “Painting jazz pieces is an avenue or outlet for expressing my love for the music,” he once said in an interview. "As I paint, I listen to jazz and visualise the performance. Jazz performers improvise within the conventions of their chosen styles. In an ensemble, for example, there are vocal styles that include freedom of vocal colour, call-and-response patterns and rhythmic complexities played by different members. Painting jazz allows me to literally put colour onto these vocal colours.

“Jazz is rhythmic and it emphasises interpretation rather than composition. There are deliberate tonal distortions that contribute to its uniqueness. My jazz collages, with their distorted patterns, attempt to communicate all of this. As a collagist and painter, fortunately, the technique allows me this freedom of expression… What I am doing is not new though, as there are other artists before me who painted jazz pieces. For example, Gerard Sekoto, Romare Bearden and Henri Matisse.”

Nhlengethwa’s work has been included in key exhibitions such as Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and major publications such as Phaidon’s The 20th Century Art Book. He has had several solo shows in South Africa and abroad, exhibiting in the 12th International Cairo Biennale (2010) and in Constructions: Contemporary Art from South Africa at Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Niteroi (2011) in Brazil. In 2018 Nhlengethwa was included on the group exhibition Beyond Borders: Global Africa at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.