About the artist
b 1975 in Maphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal. He attended the Natal Technikon gaining a Fine Arts Diploma, and more recently studied for a BA Teaching Degree from Unisa.
His mother, a traditional basket weaver, taught Ngwenya his initial skills of basket weaving. From his father, he learned woodcarving and drawing skills.
The intense, laborious process of weaving copper and softer, plastic-coated wire to form his 3-D sculptures, involves long hours and deep concentration. A meditative state is engaged as the weaving process consumes the artistic creativity of technical expertise and imaginative reflection. The larger sculptures require months of labour, as much as 6 months, and over time, Ngwenya has devised techniques to make the weave smaller and more intricate.
Traditional Zulu society designates weaving as a woman’s profession: Ngwenya admires and reveres women as the givers of life and strength of the community. He celebrates the role of women in his woven copper wire sculptures. He weaves an inner spirituality into each sculpture, celebrating the humanity and caregiving nature of women and motherhood. Each sculpture retains a unique individuality, quiet in repose, casting shadow and light, creating its own distinctive personality.
COLLECTIONS: Durban Art Gallery, KwaMuhle Museum, Nelson Mandela Metropole in the Eastern Cape. Ngwenya was commissioned to make the lights for the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. He was selected to design and make a sculptural concept for the Durban Soccer Stadium for the World Cup.. Selected as a Renault Artist in 2006, he exhibited in the Renault Exhibition in South Africa in Port Elizabeth and the Everard Read gallery and later in Paris. His work is in private collections in the UK, France, Italy, the USA as well as in numerous corporate collections in South Africa