top of page

Nandipha Mntambo

Artist 161

Nandipha Mntambo

Identity within Anthropomorphism


Nandipha Mntambo (born 1982) is a Swaziland artist who 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.

These motifs creates conversations around identity in which she uses the human female body and natural materials in experimental ways to explore. It addresses ongoing debates around traditional gender roles, and body politics.

Mntambo embraces ambiguity and likes to play with the tension between the sightly and the unsightly by manipulating how her viewers negotiate the aspects of materials like animal hide. Mntambo uses these hides to explore the division between animals and humans, as well as the divide between attraction and repulsion.

She states:

"My intention is to explore the physical and tactile properties of hide and aspects of control that allow or prevent me from manipulating this material in the context of the female body and contemporary art. I have used cowhide as a means to subvert expected associations with corporeal presence, femininity, sexuality and vulnerability. The work I create seeks to challenge and subvert preconceptions regarding representation of the female body."

Her works draw on the cultural, historical and universal associations people draw from cow hide.

The obsessive use of bovine by-products and the complex associations attributed to cattle allows for a multiplicity of readings of Mntambo’s work.

Mntambo’s engagement with the physical and tactile properties of cowhide, resides in its counteractive properties, its malleability when wet and rigidity when dry, both inhibiting and facilitating her artistic interventions.

In this sense, the material takes on agency, a female figure, with the ability to control the outcome of its own form.

The concept of anthropomorphism (giving human behavioral attributes to objects/animals) is extended to the material moulding to the shape of a ghostly human figure, presenting a liminal space between human and animal.

Sources Consulted:…/


Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
bottom of page