Bambo Sibiya's exhibition "Umlambo uzwiwa nge dondolo" opens in Joburg

9 November 2014 - 30 January 2015
Absa Gallery, Johannesburg

Nize nisikhonzele phela bandla bo III

2012 Gerard Sekoto Award Winner Bambo Sibiya present his new solo exhibit "Umlambo uzwiwa nge dondolo" at the Absa Gallery. 

Through this exhibition Bambo explores the various aspects of township life with particular emphasis been given to single parent households which has become a formative part of his life and migrant labourers coming to Johannesburg at the peak of apartheid in the hope of finding work.

Bambo, and his two siblings, were raised in a township outside Johannesburg by their mother. At a young age their mother was able to shape and mould them, ensuring they grew up in a loving and supportive household, while at the same time balancing the running of the household and working to sustain the needs of her family.

For Bambo the love and support that his mother gave unconditionally fostered the respect and gratitude not only for his own mother but single mothers in general. For him single mothers’ are having to play the part of two role models as mother and father, balancing their duties as parents in raising our future leaders while at the same time overcoming daily challenges.

It is this experience that figures in his visual and conceptual compositions conveying the message that despite the hardships facing families and their survival, women still manage to find ways to feed, nurture and protect their children and keep their families in relative security.

In the series of children’s faces, Bambo invites us to celebrate the beauty and promise these faces holds for the world. These faces document the possibilities that children promise for the future. In these portraits Bambo not only presents us with these promises shown in the blind embossing surrounding these portraits but makes us aware of the responsibility we have in shaping these futures and thus shaping the future of our country. These portraits become in a sense a further homage to his mother and other single parents.

While Bambo was growing up the men that surrounded him and his siblings, were the men from the township that shaped and formed his understanding of men. Amongst the men surrounding him were the migrant workers, a cultural expression developed to living in an apartheid era. Swenkas, working-class Zulu men participated in amateur competitions that are part fashion show and part choreography, the purpose of which is to display one’s style and sense of attitude. For Bambo as well as so many other young people growing up in these areas these ‘competitions’ became an important part of their formative years

For Bambo, these experiences which formed part of his formative years as well as is current surroundings becomes the true spirit of Ubuntu which he wishes all of us to celebrate as South Africans.

Click here to watch a video where Bambo Sibiya, whose work has led to a residency at the famous Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, talks about the hard work that goes into being an artist and the obstacles that must be overcome.

Bambo Sibiya's exhibition is presented by Absa, together with the French Institute of South Africa in collaboration with SANAVA, the Embassy of France in South Africa and the French cultural network of Alliances françaises in Southern Africa.