Widening the Circle Artists

Joseph Ndlovu

Ndlovu was born in Johannesburg in 1953. He attended schooling there as well as at Dlangezwa High School, Empangeni, in 1972 and 1973. Between 1974 and 1976 he studied art at the ELC Art and Craft Centre, Rorke’s Drift, and obtained a Fine Arts Diploma.

In 1977 he was appointed by the Durban branch of the S.A. Institute of Race Relations as an officer to organise and develop Youth and Community projects in art, drama, dance, creative writing, craft, photography and informal education. He was responsible for the administration of the recruitment of staff for the Central Education Programme until 1982.

From 1983 to 1985 he worked as a Freelance Artist. Between 1986 and 1991 he was employed by the Open Air School in Durban as Assistant Programmer and art tutor/co-ordinator of art projects, both in the school as well as for outreach programmes. He ran the Programmes together with the artist, Charles Nkosi.

Joseph Ndlovu has appeared in a number of significant exhibitions since 1974 Including  Fort Hare University, Art Centre Sweden, JP Art Gallery SAIRR Culture and resistance group exhibition Botswana 1981 through to the 1995 Johannesburg Bienale. His tapestries are in the following collections:

1996  Khaya Museum (Diepkloof)

1997  Constitutional Court (Gauteng)

1998  Independent Electoral Commision        

1999  Uthingo

2002  NAIL (Head)

2003  Kellogs Foundation (Washington DC)

2004  JOHNIC

2005-7 Johannesburg Art Gallery


Ernest Mancoba

Ernest Mancoba, born in Boksburg in 1904, was a sculptor and a painter. He expressed himself figuratively and abstractly. His work was modern and at the same time drew inspiration from and referred to the ancient art of Africa and in fact to art from the whole world.  His first work was produced in 1929 and his last in the 1990s.

Mancoba’s work was hugely significant in the history of twentieth century art. Some experts say his work preceded minimalism and abstract expressionism. We believe however the significance of his work on the world historical stage is devalued if we think of it only in terms of modern movements in western art. His visionary paintings took the modern art movement, which is dominated by a western centre, firmly into the twenty first century and far beyond its western ethnocentric boundaries.

His art expressed a profound philosophy which he repeatedly said was informed by his mother’s teaching about African cultural values. He expressed these values continually throughout his life: both verbally to fellow students and friends, in a small body of written work and in a few interviews, but most particularly, he expressed it in his art.

S’bonelo Tau Luthuli

Luthuli, whose inspiration to be a pot maker came from a high school visit to the Durban Art Gallery where he saw Clive Sithole’s work, is the first young artist to be presented to the public as part of the Arts and Ubuntu Trust’s Travelling Art Institute, which is is supported by the Mzansi Golden Economy Fund of the Department of Arts and Culture.

Luthuli works in the tradition of the great ceramic artist, Nesta Nala, taking inspiration from her as well as Clive Sithole and Ian Garrett.
Standing on the shoulders of these great South African artists Luthuli takes pot making to a number of levels – profoundly spiritual and
meditative, intellectual and philosophical – applying his personal journey as the pivot and pen of his narrative. He skillfully uses every pot he
produces to scribe a message reflecting meaning in life.

Peter Clarke

Peter Clarke was a highly accomplished and versatile visual artist, working across a broad spectrum of media. But he also had a literary side as an internationally acclaimed writer and poet. Of these three roles, he used to joke: “Had I been triplets, it would have made it much easier because each could have his own job. There are times when I go through a writing phase and there are times for phases of picture-making but there is never a dull moment.”

Clarke is best known for his graphic prints, particularly his woodcuts. He also used leather, glass, found objects and other mixed media to produce his colourful work.

Born in Simons Town in 1929, Clarke’s artistic career spans many decades and he has unsurprisingly produced a large number of works and appeared in many exhibitions. Nevertheless, commentators generally feel that despite this experience and exposure, his work is not given the full recognition it deserves.