Nandipha Mntambo’s work addresses ongoing debates around traditional gender roles, body politics, and identity. She works in photography, sculpture, video, and mixed media to explore the liminal boundaries between human and animal, femininity and masculinity, attraction and repulsion, life and death.

Born in Mbabane, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Mntambo currently lives in Johannesburg. In 2007, she completed a Master’s in Fine Art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town.

Mntambo is best known for her figurative cowhide sculptures which allude to the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature. In her work, she focuses on the human body and the organic nature of identity, using mainly natural materials and experimenting with sculptures, videos and photography. One of her favourite materials to use in her pieces is the skin of the cow, often also used as a covering for human bodies – boneless sculptures – and thus oscillating between evoking the garments that can be shod at will and the bodies that once contained living, breathing, masticating beings with four stomachs. Mntambo embraces this ambiguity and likes to play with the tension between the sightly and the unsightly by manipulating how her viewers negotiate the two aspects of the hide.

She uses her own body as the mould for these sculptures and does not intend to make an explicit statement regarding femininity. Rather, Mntambo uses these hides to explore the division between animals and humans, as well as the divide between attraction and repulsion.

Notable solo exhibitions include The Snake You left Inside Me at Stevenson (Johannesburg: 2017) Metamorphoses at Stevenson (Cape Town: 2014); Nandipha Mntambo at Andréhn-Schiptjenko (Stockholm, Sweden: 2013) and Faena, a travelling exhibition showcased at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth, and at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town (2011).

Mntambo’s participation in group shows include Regarding Africa: Contemporary Art and Afro-Futurism at Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2017); the 12th Edition of Dak’Art, the African Art Biennale in (Dakar, Senegal: 2016); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art at Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, USA: 2015); What Remains is Tomorrow for the South African Pavilion (56th Venice Biennale: 2015); The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists (Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/Main, Germany: 2014), Nandipha Mntambo at the FNB Joburg Art Fair (Johannesburg: 2013) and the 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (Moscow, Russia: 2012).

She has been shortlisted for the AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize in Canada (2014), was a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2013), received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art (2011) and the Wits/BHP Billiton Fellowship (2010).

Nandipha Mntambo
Mother and Child

Cowhide and resin
208 x 195 x 45 cm
One-off

Nandipha Mntambo
Mother and Child

Cowhide and resin
208 x 195 x 45 cm
One-off

View Artist Page
Nandipha Mntambo
Veiled Desires II

Cowhide, resin and polyester mesh
46 x 125 x 189 cm
Unique

Nandipha Mntambo
Veiled Desires II

Cowhide, resin and polyester mesh
46 x 125 x 189 cm
Unique

View Artist Page
Nandipha Mntambo
Hubris

Cowhide, resin and polyester mesh
48 x 150 x 215 cm
Unique

Nandipha Mntambo
Hubris

Cowhide, resin and polyester mesh
48 x 150 x 215 cm
Unique

View Artist Page
Nandipha Mntambo
Solace, 2020

Cowhide, resin and polyester mesh
77 x 154 x 168 cm

Available

Nandipha Mntambo
Solace, 2020

Cowhide, resin and polyester mesh
77 x 154 x 168 cm

Available

View Artist Page
Nandipha Mntambo
Moonlit Shadows XI

Oil and gold leaf on canvas
200 x 200 cm
Unique

Nandipha Mntambo
Moonlit Shadows XI

Oil and gold leaf on canvas
200 x 200 cm
Unique

View Artist Page

Enquire

    Enquire

      Newsletter

      * indicates required