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Buhle Nkalashe

Artist 227 Buhle Nkalashe Hybrid South Africa Painting

Buhle Nkalashe (born 1994) is a South African visual artist. He is mostly known for his paint and mixed media art which combines charcoal, acrylic paint, oil paint and oil pastels. His paintings revolve around the growth of African people through design and how traditional patterns have evolved and contributed to a contemporary style. This can be a symbol of identity.

He recently moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg where he now lives and works. Nkalashe has been painting for nearly 10 years. His body of work explores the mind of the artist and how he has reconnected with his inner child and been liberated by it.

Nkalashe experimented with different kinds of mediums, namely charcoal, oil paint, acrylic paint and oil pastels. The artist surrendered control of planning the artworks, and rather painted what he feels in his heart. Throughout his life, Nkalashe has been exposed to many cultural events and ceremonies particularly in his Xhosa culture. In these gatherings, people perform rituals and ask for a blessing. During the celebration, songs are sung which tell stories and also traditional clothes are worn, mainly depicted in weddings.

Traditional clothes are very colourful and have patterns. This can also be seen in beadwork. Nkalashe is fascinated by the idea that patterns and colour can be a symbol of identity.

He is inspired by how African people have evolved creatively and also the evolution and contribution of traditional patterns in a contemporary style society. Nkalashe noticed how young African people have borrowed elements from their culture to express their identity through their profession.

He noticed that the Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele patterns are similar in terms of colour and Nkalashe felt that he needs to reimage these patterns together in a contemporary African setting to create a new hybrid South Africa.


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