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Nicholas Hlobo in "Johannesburg"

Nicholas Hlobo’s gorgeously handcrafted paintings, sculptures, and performances utilize leather, ribbon, and rubber to quietly and subversively examine his sexuality, masculinity, and Xhosa heritage within South African culture. Shopping for materials at a local Johannesburg leather shop and working in his studio (a former synagogue), Hlobo weaves together symbolic bodily innuendos and historical references in his work, examining and exposing the challenges of the country’s young democracy. Hlobo brings one of his performances to a renovated church in Harlem, New York City, to investigate the history of missionaries in South Africa and the more subtle ways that bodies are colonized today.

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Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Nicholas Hlobo

Nicholas Hlobo was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1975 and grew up in Transkei, South Africa. His works on paper, sculptures, installations, and performances utilize rubber, ribbon, leather, and a variety of domestic objects to explore both his identity as a gay Xhosa man and issues of masculinity, sexuality, and ethnicity in South African culture.

“As an artist, you should be the one who sings off key.”

Nicholas Hlobo