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DEATH OF GABISILE NKOSI (article first published : 2008-05-30)

The untimely death of artist Gabisile Nkosi, aged 34, has shocked the KZN art community.

Born in 1974 in Umlazi, Durban, Gabisile had built a significant career as an artist in her short life. She received her BTech in Fine Art from the Durban University of Technology in 2002. Thereafter Gabisile was based at the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands facilitating printmaking workshops with well-known artists and local communities. She had a wonderful warm personality and was loved by all who came into contact with her. In her short lifespan she became a significant artist and worked incessantly to improve the lives of others through her teaching and by personal example.

She also had enjoyed the privileges of a number of international residencies.

Gabi created strong links with the African Art Centre and Artists for Humanity and also took part in many art projects such as the Thupela Art Workshops. She received many awards and prizes, during and after her studies at D.U.T. in fine art.

The director of the African Art Centre, Anthea Martin said: “It is with great sadness I record the death of Gabisile Nkosi, who died in the early hours this morning (May 27, 2008). We have lost a fine artist and an outstanding person. She will be greatly missed by the artists’ community of South Africa.

“Her last exhibition titled Ukwelapha: Healing was held at the African Art Centre last year. Gabi was passionately interested in how art could be used as therapy, especially for women who had been abused and damaged through domestic violence. In Gabi’s own words “through the support of my metaphorical sisters, I found joy and strength, instead of breaking under the pain, I decided to confront it as a challenge for a brighter future – for all children have the right to a happy mother no matter how much heavy baggage may weigh.”

Gabi used her talents as therapy to change the lives of women who had been abused and damaged through domestic violence. Her ultimate aim in life was to heal, inform and educate.

Jan Jordaan, who heads Artists for Humanity said: “Gabisile was involved with AFH for almost 10 years with her participation in two of AFH’s print portfolio projects. In 2000, Gabisile contributed a linocut, Break the Silence which discouraged the practice of polygamy in rural areas to AFH’s Break the Silence HIV/Aids awareness print portfolio.

“In her artist statement, Gabisile emphasized the important role art plays in advocating social issues. Gabisile was particularly interested in the therapeutic effects of art making and in 2005 she collaborated with AFH’s on the Women for Children print portfolio. AFH treasures the opportunity of having worked with Gabisile. She made such a powerful impact with her capacity as an artist and as an educator in numerous communities. Her passion, kindness and commitment to helping others through art inspired and touched many lives. We will miss you, Gabi.”

Gabisile’s prints are in the Durban Art Gallery and the Tatham Art Gallery and in many other public museums and art galleries in South Africa as well as in international collections.




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