Indepth Arts News: |
"Njabulo Hlongwane: Spiritual Journey"
2003-08-19 until 2003-09-07
ZA South Africa
Njabulo Hlongwane is an artist living and working in Durban, and is presenting his first solo exhibition at the NSA Gallery. Hlongwane has participated in numerous group exhibitions, and was selected and participated in the groundbreaking Thupelo Art Workshops in Johannesburg in 1990. He studied at the Johannesburg Art Foundation between 1992 and 1994, and also qualified as a community Arts Teacher. He has been working as the Visual Arts Coordinator for the BAT Centre since 1997.
Hlongwane works largely with acrylic on large canvases, as well as pencil drawings combined with China markers. He uses acrylic medium to create texture and colour layers. His choice of colour is muted and subtle, with a dreamlike, otherworldly effect.
His work is a celebration of many aspects of the spiritual world. Inspiration and symbols is drawn from a spectrum of spiritual practice: traditional customs and beliefs, the rituals of sangoma’s, the practice of witchcraft, the existence of ancestral entities and the symbolic manifestation of collective consciousness. Another aspect of contemporary living that Hlongwane investigates is the homeless, or outcasts from society – wandering souls that in them carry the collective burden of humanity.
The floating figure is a recurring theme in his paintings. Defying gravity, they hover over traditional, pastoral landscapes or urban labyrinths. Hlongwane states, “To me these figures are spiritual beings rather than normal people. As an artist I would also like to amuse the viewer, and they must not only think about ordinary things, but also things unseen. My exhibition is also intended as an enlightenment to people that there is another realm, that we maybe do not understand, or cannot comprehend.”