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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THEMBA SHIBASE (article first published : 2005-04-8)

Themba Shibase is a man of many talents who is set to have a bright future in the visual arts culture of KZN. He was recently appointed the new curator of the DIT (Durban Institute of Technology) Art Gallery.

Born in Port Shepstone in 1980, he completed his matric at Marburg Secondary School and from there continued his studies at Technikon Natal, now DIT, where he majored in painting. He is presently working for a solo show at the NSA Gallery in 2005, with sponsorship from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

Themba Shibase is modest about his own work and feels that there’s still so much to learn and he is wise enough to know that there’s always room for improvement. He has travelled overseas as one of four students selected for a student exchange programme in the Netherlands, where he visited the major Dutch galleries - among them the Ryksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Abbe Museum in Eindhoven and even the Ludwig Museum in Cologne.

He was also chosen to do a residency at the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers in the Midlands, where he learnt the finer points of printmaking under the guidance of master printer Malcolm Christian.

Last year he was selected to take part in a University of KwaZulu-Natal/Hivan initiative titled ART Expression where he contributed towards the development of a framework that facilitates skills for artists who work with vulnerable youth such as abused children and those who have Aids or are Aids orphans.

He developed teaching skills during the time he supervised and taught fine art disciplines to the students of the African Art Centre’s Velobala group of the African Art Centre.

Talking about his own work, Themba Shibase says: “My work is an attempt to expose the conflict and ambiguity, maybe even the subtlety which is part and parcel of attempting to define an “African Authentic Identity” in this complex global art world. My images are informed by my daily life experiences, what’s happening around me and I use anything from newspaper articles, photos even mundane objects that may be found on the city streets.”

Producing art in a wide variety of mediums, he has the talent, will, drive and concentration to make it as an artist in today’s competitive fine art world. Being a curator is just a start. He has far to go, so… just remember the name! Themba Shibase! – Marianne Meijer




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