Ndabuko Julukani Ntuli
“The spirit of the Zulu nation, my ancestors and our Kings and Queens, our history, and age old customs and traditions, the beauty of my homeland, our cattle, my dreams and visions and the captivating sounds of Zulu rhythm and harmonies they tell their stories through my hands and my voice’’.
Ndabuko Ntuli was born in 1975 in rural KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Ndabuko is married to the niece of Chief Mbangiseni Dlomo from his home village of Isidashi.
Ndabuko has a wide range of talents and skill sets that sets him apart from most other visual artists. Besides being a talented visual artist and a practicing Sangoma (traditional healer), Ndabuko is also a traditional Maskandi musician with 6 albums behind his name. He has worked with the likes of Mbongeni Ngema, the globally respected producer, director and playwright amongst others.
These albums are: ‘Kwantaz’ibheshu’ released in 2000, ‘Iqom’umahlalela’ in 2003, ‘Yekan’inkomo Zabantu’ in 2006, ‘Sekonakele’ in 2008, ‘Wakhal’akwezwabani’ in 2009 and ‘Uvumelani’ in 2012.
Ndabuko was inspired to take up visual art from an early age by Masobeshe Ntuli, his grandfather, who was a prolific sculptor. He showed an early aptitude for painting and this was his focus for most of his developing years.
However, over the years, he has developed a loyal following and strong reputation as an extremely versatile visual artist who has mastered various genre including sculpture, painting and collage and in mediums as varied as waste plastic, found objects, bone, metal, wood, paint, canvas and more.
Ndabuko is able to create artworks in different styles from ultra-realism and impressionism to abstract and has an extraordinary understanding of 3 dimensional space. His mixed media artworks when hung on a wall often have sculptural tendencies which when viewed from a distance merge to become realistic portraits.
He has perfected his art over the years with periods spent at the Joburg Art Foundation and Alexandra Art Center, took part in the Assemblage Peer Mentorship Programme and participated in Joburg Art Week, Chicago Art Fair and the Harlem Fine Arts Show in 2017.
Ndabuko has exhibited extensively in South Africa and abroad and his artworks grace numerous private and corporate collections in various countries including the U.S., Belgium, London, Germany and Beirut amongst others.
“As an artist, I find myself at a transitional stage in my work, transforming from commercial to more conceptually charged works. Challenged by trash in the streets, engaging more with it as an important art material that adds value to my artistic narrative.”
With this in mind I am working hard towards my solo exhibition which is to launch at The Melrose Gallery in Johannesburg on 17 May 2018. I will be launching a new body of visual artworks together with a song and poetry that I will perform which will better explain my motivation for this body of works and my artistic and life journey in general.
‘’If you can learn to value trash, you can learn to value all things’’ Ndabuko Ntuli.