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Sunday, May 7, 2017


(The memory of De la Rey being disappeared by the chant of Zulu maidens (Studio View) 2017. Oil on Canvas by Themba Shibase)

The SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg is currently presenting Give-and-Take, Push-and-Pull, an exhibition of new paintings by Durban-based painter, Themba Shibase.

While Shibase’s concepts – rooted in the interrogation of current socio-political issues within a pan-African context – are conceived over an extended period of time and are ongoing, the paintings included in Give-and-Take, Push-and-Pull were all produced during the course of this year. This body of work has provided the prolific painter an opportunity to reflect on the themes and ideas explored through the physicality of painting, subsequently wrestling with the idea of giving and taking, as manifested in various ways.

Drawing influence from Cornel West’s seminal text, A Matter of Life and Death (1992), Shibase articulates the intricacies of desire, the life-death dichotomy and – ultimately – how the poetic dynamic between giving and taking, adding and removing, revealing and withholding informs painting as a narrative.

Themba Shibase was born in Port Shepstone in 1980 and currently lives and works in Durban. He completed his Master of Fine Arts degree at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) where he presently lectures in painting, drawing and art theory, whilst pursuing his PhD.

Since 2005, he has presented several solo exhibitions in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and New York. He was nominated as one of the finalists for the MTN New Contemporaries Award in 2008 as well as the Spier Contemporary Award in 2007.

Recent group exhibitions include Harbouring Histories at Durban Art Gallery, Us at Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) and New Spell at David Krut in New York. In 2014, Shibase featured in After 20 Years, 20 Artists at the KZNSA Gallery, and he also took part in Dialogues with Masters: Visual Perspectives on Two Decades of Democracy, curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe as a special project for the FNB Joburg Art Fair. In July 2015 his solo exhibition Slightly Off Centre was presented at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the second instalment of the exhibition continued to SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch in October and November 2015. Recently Shibase exhibited in The Circus & The Zoo at the Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Shibase is a member of various organisations, including the African Arts Centre and the Arts for Human Rights Trust. He is also an online editor for the Art of Humanity organisation. His work is characterised by depth in meaning and introspection. His willingness to challenge head-on is courageous and emblematic of an emerging critical class of African artists who are intent on breaking down taboos, prejudices and obstacles which threaten their generation and the potential of a brighter future.

Give-and-Take, Push-and-Pull will be showing at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg until May 27, 2017. For further information, contact or visit