Simphiwe Ndzube, Installation view, BLUM Los Angeles, 2023, Photo: Hannah Mjølsnes

Simphiwe Ndzube

Simphiwe Ndzube


November 4 – December 16, 2023
Los Angeles

"Pictures Girls Make": Portraitures

Curated by Alison M. Gingeras
September 9 – October 21, 2023
Los Angeles


Simphiwe Ndzube’s (b. 1990, Natalspruit, Johannesburg, South Africa) practice consists of painting, collage, performance, sound, and sculptural forms that explore the nuances of freedom and agency. Inspired by history, remembering/retelling, language, and music, Ndzube creates worlds of characters and bursting landscapes that challenge the idea of the individual and the nation. In a world he terms The Mine Moon, Ndzube draws influence from his upbringing in a ‘post-apartheid’ South Africa which lingers with the weight of history, subjugation, and violence. However, with a sharp playfulness, Ndzube brings figures and landscapes to life, as they sit between the poles of mythology and realism. The artist does not insist on the aptness and rigidity of ‘historical truth’, but instead emphasizes the art of storytelling with figures brimming with energy, and encompassing the human realities that befall them.

 The artist cites South African artists Peter Clarke and Jane Alexander as mentors who similarly hold this fascination with realism and the uncanny, with Ndzube oscillating between these dichotomies. Ndzube’s practice refuses simple categorization but rather has residues of mythmaking, historical commentary, and intentional reimagining. The sticky and morphing nature of truth and history are explored through his interest in experimenting with color, texture, and composition making, which he sees as having a shared musicality between the figures, landscapes, and objects within the frame.

Simphiwe Ndzube lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, and Cape Town, South Africa. He received his BFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Arts in 2015. Recent intuitional solo exhibitions include Oracles of the Pink Universe, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (2021); The Rain Prayers, Museo Kaluz, Mexico City, Mexico (2019); and Waiting for Mulungu, Cc Foundation, Shanghai, China (2018). Notable group exhibitions include Pacific Gold, California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA (2023); Abrasive Paradise, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, the Netherlands (2022); In Some Form or Fashion, The Momentary, Bentonville, AR (2021); Lineages: Works from the Collection, NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, FL (2021); and Là où les eaux se mêlent (where water comes together with other water), the 15th Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France (2019). His work is collected by the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Fondation Gandur pour l'Art, Geneva, Switzerland; HOW Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon, France; Rubell Museum, Miami, FL; Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa; among many others. 

Selected Works


Marjani Fortè-Saunders and Devon Cunningham Activate Simphiwe Ndzube’s "Chorus"


Cultured | 14 "Cultured" Young Artist Alums Weigh In on What Their Careers Have Taught Them So Far


Flaunt | BLUM Gallery: Tom Anholt, Simphiwe Ndzube, and Sam Moyer


Artillery | Pick of the Week: Simphiwe Ndzube


Los Angeles Times | Weekly Countdown


LA Weekly | Fall Back: Arts Calendar November 2–8


Related Publications

“Pictures Girls Make”: Portraitures

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