South African artist Nicholas Hlobo is known for his richly layered sculptures and distinctive use of materials. For his work he chooses materials such as rubber inner tubes, ribbon, gauze, lace and found objects, and combines them using techniques such as stitching and weaving. The choice of materials as well as the techniques of putting the pieces together are charged with meaning. Masculine materials such as the inner tubes of car tyres meet feminine techniques of creating things. Thus Hlobo attempts to explore issues of gender, race and ethnicity.
For the ILLUMInations exhibition of the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia Nicholas Hlobo created a giant flying rubber dragon made of tyre inner tubes, stitched together with red ribbons. The title of the work is All the Lightning Birds Are After Me, or – in Hlobo’s native Xhosa language: Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela.
Nicholas Hlobo was born in Cape Town in 1975. The artist lives and works in Johannesburg. Currently he is also taking part in the exhibition The World Belongs to You at Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
Nicholas Hlobo: Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela. ILLUMInations (Illuminazioni). Main exhibition at the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2011. Arsenale, Venice / Italy, June 4, 2011.
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