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Monday, June 20, 2011


("Inspiration" - linocut by Gabisile Nkosi)

Running at the African Art Centre is an exhibition in memory of the late well-known artist Gabi Nkosi who was born in 1974 in Umlazi, Durban. In her short life, she managed to build a significant career as an artist, community catalyst, printmaker and mentor.

As a young girl she was greatly inspired by her art teacher at Ogwini High School in Umlazi and later by Pat Khoza from the Durban Art Gallery. In 2002, she received her B Tech in Fine Art from the Durban University of Technology where she was mentored by Jan Jordaan.

As a newly graduated printmaker, Gabi was invited to participate in an International Residential Fellowship at Caversham Press and was given the opportunity to work with three internationally acclaimed artists. Together they created a body of prints around the theme of Baggage for an exhibition. It was this experience, which she said changed her life and where she realized the significance and importance of art and how it could change a person’s life. (Versveld, S. 2008)

Gabi was associated with Art for Humanity (AFH) for almost ten years and participated in two print portfolio projects. In 2000, she contributed a linocut titled Break the Silence to the HIV/AIDS Billboard and Portfolio Project and in 2005 she collaborated with Cape-Town based poet Mavis Smallberg on AFH’s Women for Children print portfolio where she strongly advocated women’s rights in her linocut, titled Sisterhood.

In 2002, she was appointed as the first Training Programme Manager and Community Coordinator at Caversham and was responsible for assisting with workshops and developing artistic programmes in the local communities. As a result of her passion and commitment she established the first CreACTive Centre, Ulwazi at Jabula Combined School in Lidgetton.

Gabi created strong links with the African Art Centre. In 1996, the young aspiring artist enrolled in the Saturday morning Velobala Art Classes presented by the African Art Centre and later she participated in workshops and art projects including the Thupelo Art Workshops facilitated and presented by the Centre. In 2001 Gabi mentored a group of young artists attending the Velobala Art Classes. Her last exhibition, titled Ukwelapha: Healing was mounted at the African Art Centre in 2007.

Besides being a remarkable printmaker, Gabi was a devout Christian and a dedicated mother to her son, Sandile. She worked closely and collaborated with numerous well-known artists and through hard work and dedication she honed her skills and firmly established herself as a printmaker of note. She was particularly interested in the therapeutic effects of art making and used the skills she had acquired to enrich and augment the lives of women who had been abused and damaged through domestic violence. She participated in numerous exhibitions in South Africa and abroad and her work is represented in both National and International collections.

Gabisile was tragically killed in her home in Lidgetton on May 27, 2008. Three years after her death the African Art Centre remembers a remarkable artist, a dedicated mother, activist and above all humanitarian in Gabisile Nkosi Remembered (1974-2008).

The African Art Centre is situated at 94 Florida Road, Morningside. More information from the Director, Sharon Crampton, on 031 312 3805 or email or visit