Blessing Ngobeni (b. 1985, Tzaneen, South Africa), works across disciplines in painting, collage, sculpture, video animation, sound installations and live performances. He creates a hybrid language of Surrealism, Dada and Neo-Expressionism in his large-scale paintings condemning South Africa’s socio-political system. Ngobeni’s work brings attention to the failures of the government to deliver on Nelson Mandela’s promises of a more equal society, post-Apartheid. His multi-layered canvases combine imagery from magazines, books, and social media within his distinctive figurative characters, reflecting various perspectives on current affairs of our time.
Ngobeni was named by Artspace as one of the “most important African painters working today”, is a 2020 recipient of South Africa’s prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art; past awardees include William Kentridge and Mohau Modisakeng. Ngobeni was an artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA, and Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion. His works are in public institutions throughout South Africa including Johannesburg Art Gallery and he has been featured in Phaidon’s Vitamin P3. Blessing Ngobeni was recently included in Art Basel's article 'Cocoa butter poems and splashing colors: Discover five young artists in ‘OVR: Pioneers," featured as one of the visionaries pushing boundaries both material and temporal. Blessing Ngobeni lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.