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Thursday, July 12, 2018


(Wonder Buhle Mbambo’s work “Izindleko‘’ – Expenses)

KwaNgcolosi born artist, Wonder Buhle Mbambo is to exhibit solo for the first time in his career and he is bringing his show to Durban Art Gallery. The exhibition titled Ukumisa Insika, and can be loosely translated to ‘Grooming the bread winner or the leader of the nation’.

Durban Art Gallery, which is now in its second century of existence - a home to collections that are as diverse as the eThekwini population, is proud to be hosting a young and successful artist, Wonder Buhle Mbambo, who ventured in this career seven years ago. He has shown his work locally and abroad, receiving rave reviews on his work - he is now bringing his beautiful art works to Durban Art Gallery for the first time. Even though Wonder has showcased at DAG in the past, this is the first time he will showcase as a solo artist and 90% of the work will be totally brand new. 

July 17, 2018, will see the Durban Art Gallery opening its doors for Wonder Mbambo to showcase a project that is very close and personal to him, as its research drove him to unpack a lot about his family history - a family from KwaNgcolosi. This, of course extended on the long perspective of South African historical social life. He further used his findings to challenge himself on what his position is within the family structure he was brought up on and what is his role in the socio-economic landscape of this country as the youth of today.

Speaking of hosting this highly anticipated exhibition, Dr Mduduzi Xakaza, managing director of Durban Art Gallery said: “As the Durban Art Gallery we feel so honoured to host such an important solo exhibition of such a promising artist, Wonder Mbambo. I have been following his career since 2011. In 2012, I accompanied Wonder and the other three local visual artists to Bremen, Germany, where he participated in an exchange urban renewal programme. He and the other artists painted a mural under a dingy bridge and thus revitalized that space with vibrant colours. I also witnessed how his own work was treasured by those who collected it before his return here. We strongly believe that Wonder is a young dynamite that is waiting to explode and take the world of art by the storm.

“It is our mandate, as the public art museum, to nurture, support and expose such young talents so that our city may make a positive contribution to sustainable growth of the industry itself while artists’ careers flourish,” he concluded.

Wonder’s primary interest started with being conscious about the “black tax” which is one of the biggest challenges to many of the South African youth. “It’s a like a life debt which has repeated its pattern from generation to generation,” he explains. With this particular show, he took the challenge to look at it from different angles, using his own personal story from his family to create a broader narrative around this issue, in order to find solutions to ensure that the next generation does not take two steps forward and three steps back.

During his residency at the Art House, his aim has been to produce a body of work that will mirror the theme and its narrative, which will allow the visual to look more on the future and perhaps imagine how the next generation will live once the challenges have been confronted. It will also be interesting to look at the socio and economic landscape of a different space, which he believes is culturally different, as much as there are similarities because of our history.

Talking about exhibiting solo at the historical Durban Art Gallery for the very first time Wonder said; “I am quite excited to be presenting my first solo exhibition at DAG, as it has been years of maturing my artistry and showing works in a group exhibitions for the past seven years, and finally I am coming out as a one man show and as a solid voice to my youth out there”

Ukumisa Insika runs at the Durban Art Gallery until September 9, 2018.

The Durban Art Gallery is situated on the second floor of the Durban City Hall, entrance in Anton Lembede (formerly Smith) Street opposite the Playhouse. Gallery hours: Monday to Saturday 08h30 to 16h00 and Sundays from 11h00 to 16h00. More information on 031 311 2262/6.