Nicholas Hlobo

Nicholas Hlobo, Balindile I, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. Photo: Tate

Nicholas Hlobo, Balindile I, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. Photo: Tate

Nicholas Hlobo, Balindile I, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. Photo: Tate

Nicholas Hlobo (b. 1975, Cape Town, South Africa) lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Hlobo began his career around the end of apartheid in 1994. Using materials such as ribbon, leather, wood and rubber detritus that he melds and weaves together, Hlobo creates seductively tactile sculptures and drawings. His works are richly layered – anchored in references to Xhosa culture and the experience of life in post-Apartheid South Africa – and reflect upon themes of language and communication, gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity. Recent exhibitions include SCAD Museum of Art, USA (2019); Performa 17, USA (2017); Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, South Africa (2017); and Tate Modern, UK (2009).

Project Description

Nicholas Hlobo’s sculptural installation Balindile I (2012) from the Tate’s collection is presented at Tate Liverpool. Balindile I is titled in Hlobo’s native language Xhosa, a Nguni language widely spoken in South Africa and translates as ‘those in waiting’. The sculpture appears to be rising up in a state of limbo, supporting itself as a self-contained system. An element of the work also appears to be acting as a tether, limiting movement. Made from black rubber gathered from car repair shops in Johannesburg, the material has connotations of otherworldliness and restriction, of colonialism and the violent history of extraction, as well as of trade and mobility – bringing multiple histories and experiences of the world into view.

The above images are a taster of what’s in store for our LB2021 exhibitions – which are now open! Plan your visit here.