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Mongezi Ncaphayi (South Africa), Nov-Dec 2019

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Africa First Art Prize Announcement at Ivestec Cape Town Art Fair 2020

It was a pleasure to host the artist and inaugural winner of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair Africa First Award, Mongezi Ncaphayi (b. 1983, South Africa) in Tel Aviv from November 24 - December 18, 2019. We had a great time during Ncaphayi's stay and are excited about how the work has evolved, marking some exciting new directions. The artist residency culminated with a preview exhibition of works created in Tel Aviv. These works were featured in a solo presentation in the VIP Lounge of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, February 14-16, 2020, as well as the first Stellenbosch Triennale.

Images from Mongezi Ncaphayi's preview exhibition, a day trip to Jerusalem and visit to the Gottesman Etching Center, Cabri, Israel


Following his graduation with a Diploma in Art and Design from the Ekurhuleni East College-Benoni in 2005, Ncaphayi completed a Professional Printmaking Course at Artist Proof Studio in 2008. In 2012, Ncaphayi obtained a Certificate in Advanced Studies from School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA. Notably, in 2013, Ncaphayi was the recipient of the prestigious Absa L’atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, earning him a three-month residency at the Cite Des Arts in Paris, France. In 2011, Ncaphayi received the Ampersand Foundation Fellowship in New York City, USA, while, in 2016, he was awarded a grant from the Prince Claus Fund Grant in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Selected artist-in-residency programmes include: The Atelier le Grand Village Residency in Angouleme, France, in 2014 and the Thami Manyele Foundation Residency in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2016.

Ncaphayi has been selected as one of the artists to participate in the upcoming 2020 Stellenbosch Triennale titled Tomorrow there will be more of us, curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa; Bernard Akoi-Jackson and Nontobeko Ntombela. This year Ncaphayi presented his solo exhibition Of the seeking or the finding, at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. SMAC Gallery recently presented his new body of works at ART X Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria.

In 2016, Ncaphayi presented his inaugural solo exhibition, Spirit’s Response, as the 2013 Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award-winner, which debuted at the ABSA Art Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. The exhibition travelled to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Spin Street Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa; Alliance Française, Pretoria, South Africa; and the KwaZulu Natal Society of the Arts (KZNSA), Durban, South Africa. Ncaphayi has since presented three solo exhibitions with SMAC Gallery: Journey to the One in 2016 at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg; and Which Way is East? in 2017 – a large scale exhibition that first showed at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, and was recreated for an installation at The Vault exhibition space in The Silo District, Cape Town, South Africa.

Selected group exhibitions include: Filling in the Gaps, at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa; The Ampersand Foundation Award 21 years celebration exhibition, curated by Gordon Froud at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) in Johannesburg, South Africa; Print Promises and at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa and SMAC Gallery’s group presentation at the Investec Cape Town Art fair in 2019; African Amicitiae at the Arti et Amicitiae Society in association with the Thami Mnyele Foundation in Amsterdam, Netherlands; the 10th World Triennial of Printmaking in Chamalieres, France; and A Change in the Narrative: ABSA L’Atelier Winners Exhibition, Absa Art Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa, all in 2017; the 8th International Printmaking Biennale Douro at the Museu do Douro, Peso da Regua, Portugal; and The Art of Humanity at the Rubell and Norman Schafler Gallery, Pratt Institute, New York City, USA, both in 2016; Map of the New Art at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy; Back to the Future II: Abstract Art in South Africa – Past & Present at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, South Africa; and Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity at the Museo Carlo Bilotti in Rome, Italy, all in 2015. Ncaphayi’s work was included in Trans-Atlantic Fun-O-Pack: Print Exchange at the Edinburgh College of Arts in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2012, as well as Reclaiming Lives at the Boston Arts Academy in Boston, USA, in 2009.

Ncaphayi’s work is included in a number of important collections, including: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC, USA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA; Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), Manchester, USA; School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, USA; Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Paris, France; The Ampersand Foundation (TAF), London, UK; ABSA Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Luciano Benetton Foundation, Treviso, Italy.


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