Unduluko (2016), by Nicholas Hlobo

Saturday, June 8, 2019 - 11:07

Nicholas Hlobo crafts his wall-based works and sculptures from found objects and materials that include leather, ribbons and rubber. Selecting his materials for the associations they carry, as well as their formal properties, Hlobo purposefully brings together what he has described as the ‘sex and industrialisation’ of rubber with the ‘femininity and labour’ of his intricately stitched, brightly coloured ribbons. Concerned with the history of South Africa and the way that colonialism continues to shape contemporary life, Hlobo’s work also draws on and explores his identity as a gay Xhosa man.

Nicholas Hlobo, Unduluko (2016). Installation view of Kiss My Genders at Hayward Gallery, 2019. Photo: Thierry Bal

The title of this work, Unduluko (2016), can be translated as ‘one who is embarking on a journey, or transforming.’ Hlobo’s creature-like sculpture – all tendrils and tails – incorporates three horns, an instrument that is played at times of celebration as well as war. By giving his works Xhosa titles, Hlobo purposefully side-steps English – the language of public life in South Africa – and helps to ‘chip away at its dominance, little by little’.



Kiss My Genders is at Hayward Gallery from 12 June – 8 September 2019. Hayward Gallery is open 11am – 7pm every day, except Tuesdays when the gallery is closed, with late night opening on Thursdays until 9pm.

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