Ngemva Kokuqubuka (After Precarity) by Bambo Sibiya


Bambo Sibiya presents a powerful body of work that imagines a restorative and redemptive world for his solo exhibition at the CIRCA Gallery in Johannesburg, titled Ngemva Kokuqubuka – After Precarity. This art exhibition, which is his first South African exhibit in seven years, runs from 1 June to 27 July 2024.

A steady stream of work has been emanating from Sibiya’s studio – with international collectors acquiring the artist’s distinctively South African work for bespoke collections and private museums around the world.

“I do not want my identity to be lost in the global art world,” explains Sibiya, “when I am so firmly embedded in the culture and narrative of South Africa. It is time to celebrate what I am doing in my place of birth – my roots are here and I’m excited to be able to contribute to the re-telling of history as a voice from the Global South.”

Bambo Sibiya

Bambo Sibiya crafts a multi-faceted face of the Black femme

With this new series of works, Bambo Sibiya delivers an explosive iconography of colour, pattern and texture, while delving into the subcultures of music, dance, and fashion. The artist goes beyond the representation of Black and femme subjects. Sibiya inserts his Black figure into luxurious planes of geometric forms and swirling abstractions in a kind of visual rebellion – a precarious equilibrium of chaos and order.

Each figure is rendered with a captivating blend of beauty, dignity and strength. The subjects’ meticulously styled hair – created and designed by Sibiya himself – takes on a sculptural form, becoming a visual symbol of cultural pride and self-expression, while the use of makeup emphasises the artist’s intention to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of the Black gaze.

It serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the pervasive media narratives of struggle and poverty often associated with Black communities.

Bambo Sibiya

Ngemva Kokuqubuka – After Precarity doesn’t shy away from depicting the complexities of the Black experience, but it does so by prioritising agency and empowerment. The artist invites viewers to engage with the subjects on their own terms, celebrating their individual stories and highlighting their inherent power and resilience.

This shift in perspective is not simply an aesthetic choice; it is a conscious act of artistic resistance. With a focus on joy and self-determination in his muses, the artist challenges the dominant narratives that have historically marginalised and dehumanised Black communities.

A unique element of the exhibition is a dedicated space titled “The Library”. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with a curated selection of materials related to Bambo’s artistic practice. Notepads and sketches, accessories from photo shoots, experimental drafts, production notes and annotations will function as a window into Sibiya’s creative process.

Sibiya’s work is not a soothing balm for troubled souls. It’s a provocative interrogation that plunges us into the messy complexity of the world we live in. It is a powerful testament to the human spirit and its capacity to find beauty and resilience amidst chaos.

The exhibition closes on 27 July 2024. 

Bambo Sibiya

Where to see the art exhibition?

Cost: FREE entry

When: Running until 27 July 2024. Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Saturday, 9am to 1pm
Where: CIRCA Gallery at Everard Read, 6 Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg


Instagram: @everard_read_johannesburg
Facebook: @EverardRead

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