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SAMSON MUDZUNGA & SHIBUSISO MBHELE  /  February 9, 2006 – March 11, 2006  /

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Installation View, 2006

February 9 – March 11, 2006
The Jack Shainman Gallery is proud to present a two-person exhibition featuring the work of South African artists Samson Mudzunga and Sibusiso Mbhele.
Samson Mudzunga was born in 1938 in Shanza, Dopeni, South Africa. Even though Mudzunga made art from an early age, he did not actively pursue art making until 1988. Mudzunga’s work includes a range of media. He incorporates the regional tradition of “Venda” woodcarving and rituals, using this style in a experimental form by creating drums, ritualistic instruments and other symbolic and hybrid objects. Additionally, Mudzunga’s work often involves performances, some of which have consisted in the artist enacting his own death, and subsequently enacting a “resurrection” days later.
Mudzunga’s work thus embraces the ritual aspect of his cultural background, nonetheless inscribing in it a very autobiographic dimension, construed by his own individual and very complex visual vocabulary. The exhibition at the Jack Shainman gallery will include a number of Mudzunga’s carved, drum-like sculptural objects.
Mudzunga has exhibited at the First Johannesbug Biennial in South Africa as well as in the NSA Gallery in Durban and at the Gallery on Tyrone in Johannesburg.
Opening night will include special performances by Samson Mudzunga and his wife.
Sibusiso Mbhele (usually known as Punch) is a South-African based artist who lives in the rural town of KwaZulu-Natal of Winterton near Northern Drakensberg.
The exhibition at Jack Shainman gallery will include a range of Mbhele’s drawings Mbhele’s drawings, made with basic materials such as color pencils and markers, are fanciful renditions of imaginary flying machines such as helicopters and airplanes in the urban context of the community where he lives.
Mbhele has gained international reputation for his unique helicopter and airplane- shaped sculptures, made our scrap metal, wire, and other recycled materials. Mbheles’ fascination with flying machines prompted him to even make his own house in the form of a “fish-helicopter” –as he himself has described it— out of two volkswagen buses taken apart and reassembled to form the fuselage, and balanced on a wooden stilt structure which he continuously changes and adapts. A film featuring Mbhele’s house and artwork was described by William Sloan, head of the Film and Video library of the Museum of Modern Art, as follows: “nothing had prepared me for the kind of sculpture made by Sibusiso Mbhele. It was overflowing with imagination, joie de vivre, energy, and unconventionality”. Mbhele’s combination of ingenuity, resourcefulness and creativity and his very intimate obsession with his subject results in works that often become metaphors of freedom and the embodiment of desirable worlds apart from earthly reality.
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at
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