Blessing Ngobeni re-imagines seminal Study Song of Chicotte through hand-coloured linocuts

Mpho Moloto, City Buzz, January 23, 2020

In the 2016 exhibition, the 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for the Visual Arts recipient used the chicotte (a French word used to describe a whip used by colonialists in the 19th century) as a metaphor for slavery and not just historical slavery but slavery of the mind, the spirit – in the country, our relationships, and ourselves.


Ngobeni is a fine artist who strives to simultaneously uplift others, while challenging the status quo through his art. Using painting, sculpture, video, audio installations and live performance Ngobeni speaks truth to power, continually highlighting and questioning corrupted systems of power in South Africa. Ngobeni also mentors and provides support for young artists.


Through the new series of hand-coloured linocuts, Ngobeni revisits the metaphor through the use of linocuts which offer a graphic re-interpretation of the artist’s large, bold, and complex collages on canvas – rendering the familiar images in softer tones of blues, purples and greys. The linocuts offer an intimate conversation with Ngobeni, a quiet moment to reflect on his past statements, future ambitions and immediate realities.