Highly nostalgic on traditional Africa, Sinalithemba Ntuli’s work yearns for an evaluation on what he considers a contemporary society with a high loss in values and a culture threatened with demise.

The artist’s work seeks to illuminate the beauty of culture and especially the humanity possessed by the nation. He depicts in his work traditional ceremonies of rites of passage such as the Reed Dance performed by young girls as a symbol of growth and transition to womanhood.  His body of work places large focus on the young woman and her relationships and roles she has as a daughter and potential wife to wife, as well as the relationship she has with herself with regards to the manner in which she presents herself and upholding of values learnt from her parents.

Ntuli’s interest in drawing dates back to his days as a pupil of Boshkloof Intermediate Boarding School and escalated in 1992 when he took art as a subject at Escourt High School. From there on he has had countless involvements in the visual arts which include three years spent as a student at the Funda College in Soweto in 2002, an artist residency at the Bat Centre in Kwa-Zulu Natal, as well an invitation by John Room to work at the print studios of DUT (Durban University of Technology), amongst many others. He has a few group exhibition under his name as well as a collaborative exhibition at Moutachomb Golf estate in2005. He has had the privilege of a solo exhibition which was shown at two venues titled “My Heritage in Jabulani Soweto and Ferrarmere Benoni in 2010. In 2011, Ntuli was awarded a merit prize for painting at the Thami Nyele art competiton. Other honours under the artist’s name include a commissioned painting of Chief Albert Lithuli for the Chief Albert Lithuli Museum in Groutville and a mural portrait of Shaka for the Durban University of Technology.

His years of experience as a student and exhibiting artist have been a profound catalyst in the growth visible in his work. Ntuli’s latest works morphed from oil painting to beading. These beadwork paintings extend on the artist’s need to express of tradition and pay homage to the culture of the Swati.

Sinalithemba is currently a part of the Stepping_Stone group exhibition housed in the East Gallery at the Pretoria Art Museum, until the end of October 2012.

By Abongile Gwele

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