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PLAY THAT TUNE (article first published : 1999-11-2)

Recently, the Durban Art Gallery was privileged to receive a donation from the NBS when corporate head Georgie Shields presented Nhlanhla Ben Nsusha’s work, Play That Tune My Fohloza. The artist already has two other works in the DAG, The Sound of the Healing Drum and Football Player/i>.

Nhlanhla Nsusha is an internationally exhibited artist and has carried out several public commissions which include The Roller Skater, a life size metal work for Hammersmith Borough, London. His work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and France and he has studied at Rorke¹s Drift Art Centre and in London at The Slade College of Art and the Chelsea College of Art.

“I am what I am because I am the child of my parents,” he explains. “Sometimes when I paint, sculpt or engrave on the panel, I let my hand follow the free movement of line that demotes freedom of expression. I respond to the brightness of primary and secondary colours that are painted by nature in the form of grass, leaves, flowers, soil and Human Beings. In Play That Tune My Fohloza, I strike the balance of warm and cool colours to maintain compositional harmony.”

Play That Tune My Fohloza is a marvellous mixed media work full of energy, vitality and humour. It features a dancing musician with his guitar followed by his stoic pregnant mate who is carrying a baby on her back, a suitcase on her head and one in either hand. The work is full of delightful surprises: a gold ring on a finger, strings for the guitar, leather straps for a suitcase or laces on a shoe. “I am the child on my mother¹s back, awaiting the arrival of my sister as we move forward to the rhythms of life vibrating on taut strings of my father¹s guitar,” he explains. “As we follow the rhythms, the rivers, mountains that we cross and re-cross are echoing to the melody of our dreams that seek to balance the gender issues.”




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