Winner of 2020 BNAP: Abongile Sidzumo

Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize
17th Mar 2020. by

Artist Statement

My work is a reflection on my personal memories and lived experiences in relation to the broader socio-political issues. I am often influenced by various aspects of my childhood, the shared momories within home and community scapes. through my creative practise I attempt to use materials that relate that my connection with those spaces. Most of my ideas are influenced by experiences of having lived in marginal areas. I reflect on my personal and collective memory of the past in relation to the present moment through my artwork.

My conceptual approach is mostly influenced by found objects. In this body of work, I have tried to ascribe meaning to objects such as pipes, canvas and leather while thinking about their functionality before I transform them into artworks. My interest in found objects is based on the fact that they have been owned and used by people and became torn or broken over time.Through human contact and time, the objects get to a stage of rejection and become valueless. My work explores the idea that destruction and death is followed by rebirth of something new.

The process of stitching leather off-cuts is a practice that reflects on passed times. The assembled materials speak to the notion of making connections between fragments of history. The forms are influenced by the notion of rewriting one’s own narrative of their history, giving shape to a narrative that has been disfigured, and misrepresented. These non representational works make reference to many sources such as childhood games, mythological storytelling and the performance of everyday life in those spaces, while also making links with the history of dislocation, migration, land and labour. I aim to engage the viewer with the work through its materiality without directly depicting the subjects I’m dealing with. The process of working I use is influenced by ideas of resistance, and the repurposing of material intended to create a sense of transformation and healing of trauma.


Myth of creation by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Myth of creation, 2019 Leather and rivets 105x95cm
Looking through the window by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Looking through the window, 2019 Leather and Polycop pipes 117 x 117 cm
Amadlakadlaka by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Amadlakadlaka, 2019 Leather and polycop pipes 243x150 cm
Waya-waya by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Waya-waya, 2019 Metal, leather and suitcase 49x100x155 cm
Passage by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Passage, 2019 Pipes and wire approximately 300cm x 300cm
Zibotshwa zibhityile by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Zibotshwa zibhityile, 2019 leather, pipes, sheep skin and belts 170 cm x170 cm
Ibhedi by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Ibhedi, 2019 leather PVC pipes and canvas 80 x 125 cm
Dismembered by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Dismembered, 2019 Metal, PVC pipes, leather and suitcase 180x136x110 cm
Untitled by Abongile Sidzumo | Blessing Ngobeni
Untitled, 2020 leather off-cuts 130 x 104 cm



Abongile Sidzumo (1996) lives and work in Cape Town. He recently completed a Fine art degree at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (2019)



  • Simon Gerson Prize (2019).
  • In 2013 he won the Strokes of Genius art competition in painting category



  • Participated in a group show MICROPORE (2019)
  • Group exhibition of artworks of the UCT art collection, We’ve come to take you home (2020)


Work experience

  • Work expericence includes working as an assistant for Paulo Nazath in preparation for his solo exhibition at Stevenson (2019)
  • Also participated in Nicholas Hlobo’s performance which was part of Sewing Saw, a Solo exhibition in 2016. Worked as an assistant to Jane Alexander and Rowen Smith for a first year’s sculpture project at Michaelis School of Fine Art (2018)


As a young atist like myself who is passsionate about art making, and looking to learn more at an early stage of my carrear, my plan is to push myself in terms of experimenting more about my art practise so that I can develop a certain aesthetic that would make my work have its own voice and have a meaningful contribution to the South Africa art scene and hopefully reach to wide audience. I believe that art has a certain role it plays in my life and within our community at large, I enjoy the dialogue it create among people and exchange of ideas that that occur beause of art.

My actually plan and desire at this moment is to continue searching with materiality. During the time in Art school I experiment more with materials and i majored in sculpture. I need to be in a good space where I can work on my own but having a mentor who is a well established artist would be a great experience. I think it would be an informative experience to have someone to be my mentor in that space of 3 months because it would be different from formal conversations between student and teacher that happens at school. An artist residency prepares artist for a proffesional practise and seems like a real experience of being an artist, I think its great platform for young artists to begin their carrears because of the support to nurture their artistic abilities.

At this stage I’m drawn to certain materials and proccesses of making artworks as it can be seen in my art but I’m also open to new possibilties of making art that I haven’t discovered yet. A residency would be a best space to explore and reaserch more about my art and hopefully by the end of the stay I would have learned a lot that will influence the direction that I take with my art. I’m trying to get involved in different options that are available besides the straight way of dealing with the galleies, there a more ways of growing ones art practise before they become established.A solo show must come out from a residency where it was more about learning and experimenting more than dealing with the art market. I think that it is very important that young artists be guided in order to grow with a strong focus in art making.

In the residency my plan is to create a body of work that continues from the portfolio I made in 2019. My plan also includes moving into creating installation, to have works that will take up the gallery space and also use more found objects.

Contact Abongile

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