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Nicholas Hlobo

Nicholas Hlobo was born 1975 in Cape Town, South Africa. He graduated from the Witswatersand Technikon with a Bachelor of Technology degree in 2002. In 2008, Hlobo had solo exhibitions at the Level 2 Gallery at Tate Modern, London, and the ICA in Boston as part of the Momentum series. As the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art 2009, he had a solo exhibition touring South Africa’s major cities until August 2010. He is included in the 2010 Liverpool Biennial.

Hlobo creates large-scale sculptures using rubber as his main material, depicting phalli, internal organs or scenes deeply connected to a gay underground scene. His main themes include industrialization, gender and sexuality. Colourful ribbons, which are stitched and woven through the rubber, refer to the balance between male and female. By appropriating his native heritage, the Xhosa culture, and combining it with the journey of his own homosexuality, Hlobo finds his way through a rapidly changing society in which the traditional and the modern often are uncombinable. Hlobo’s work balances between the hidden and the public in his sculptural language and through the titles, which remain a secret to us as they are in Xhosa.

Showing five new paintings and a monumental sculpture in PAC, Hlobo creates his own universe, introducing the audience to the complex narratives and the exceptional visual language of his work.