On Cowhide, Feminity and Vulnereability: Nandipha Mntambo

On Cowhide, Feminity and Vulnereability: Nandipha Mntambo

My intention is to explore the physical and tactile properties of hide and aspects of control that allow or prevent me from manipulating this material in the context of the female body and contemporary art. I have used cowhide as a means to subvert expected associations with corporeal presence, femininity, sexuality and vulnerability. The work I create seeks to challenge and subvert preconceptions regarding representation of the female body. The hair-covered but arguably beautiful female figures I create disrupt perceptions of attraction and repulsion. Being confronted with a hairy life-size woman which is not necessarily unequivocally repulsive causes various reactions, which have encouraged some viewers to re-think their ideas of the desirable.

Nandipha Mntambo,  Ingabisa


Born in Swaziland in 1982, Mntambo graduated with a Masters in Fine Art (with distinction) from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 2007. She won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art in 2011, for which she produced the national travelling exhibition Faena. She has had four solo shows at Stevenson in Cape Town (2007, 2009, 2012) and Johannesburg (2009); and held her first European solo exhibition at Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, in 2013. Important group exhibitions include the 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Moscow (2012); ARS 11, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2011); the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010); the 9th Dakar Biennale (2010); Peekaboo: Current South Africa, Tennis Palace Art Museum, Helsinki (2010); Life Less Ordinary: Performance and Display in South African Art, Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2009); Les Rencontres de Bamako biennial of African photography, Bamako, Mali (2009); Beauty and Pleasure in South African Contemporary Art, Stenersen Museum, Oslo (2009); .ZA: Young Art from South Africa, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena (2008); and Apartheid: The South African Mirror, Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (2008). Mntambo was a Civitella Ranieri Fellow for 2013.

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