The winner of the 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, Blessing Ngobeni has had a meteoric rise in the contemporary art world. His recent developments in terms of medium “give a curious twist to his hybrid language which points to various references: artists Dumile Feni, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Norman Catherine, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró; the artistic grammar of Surrealism, the rebellion of Dada and the symbolic force of Neo-Expressionism; economic use of visual elements of Minimalism. These qualities expand the depth of Ngobeni’s art, equally they articulate effectively its fusion of nightmarish, absurd, beautiful and captivating imageries.”1
As Ngobeni observes our democracy maturing, he also sees the constant, and consistent, repetition of mistakes. Curator Thembinkosi Goniwe notes that as “an aesthetic inquiry into socio-political issues of our time”, Ngobeni’s work asks “Why are we turning a blind eye to the ripple effects that our past errors have on the present and future? Why is it that we are not taking a note of such error in our society? What about the ethical role and responsibility of art in this predicament of our time?”2
“The potential here is for the work to impart mixed sensibilities to the viewer: good and bad, negative and positive, excitements and calms, promises and disappointments, successes and failures. Between these binaries lie the complexities that determine the way we live, look, speak and interact.”3
2. Thembinkosi Goniwe (2018) @ERG - BLESSING NGOBENI: (A NOTE FROM ERROR), Johannesburg: Everard-Read.