About the artist
1965 grew up in the Maphumulo district of KwaZulu-Natal. He presently holds the position of Director of the Durban Art Gallery, and has overseen its development since 2009.He gained his Ph.D from the University of the Western Cape and is a specialist in Museum and Heritage Studies. Since 1993 he has exhibited throughout South Africa. He was selected as a Renault artist in 2005 exhibiting in Paris, in that capacity, the same year.
Xakaza focuses on the spirituality of the KwaZulu-Natal landscape in which he grew up and continues to live. He believes the spirits of the ancestors circulate everywhere, around their human progeny, within nature, caring and watching over the well-being of all living things. To this end, Xakaza has developed a painstaking technique of glazing thin coats of paint over his compositions, building layer upon layer, creating the intangible atmosphere of the untouchable, unseen and intuited.
These beautiful, meditative and introspective landscapes enable a meandering of the viewer’s emotions as the eye travels through the mists of rolling hills, rivers and roads.
Art historical analysis on landscape painting has mainly focussed on the works of white South African artists. There are few South African Black artists who have traditionally painted only the landscape: humanity within the landscape is the main focal point. Benghu and Xakaza stand out, both painting their beloved KwaZulu-Natal rolling hills, riverine forestation, embedded with Zulu history and memory. How much the Land Act of 1913 has been an underlying explanation for this phenomenon is yet to be examined.
Xakaza ‘s work is found in the Collections of the SA National Gallery (SANG IZIKO), the Durban Art Gallery, The University of Fort Hare, the Durban University of Technology, The Tatham Art Museum, the Pretoria Art Museum, the National Gallery, Windhoek, the National Cultural History Museum, Pretoria, the SA Reserve Bank, the MTN Collection, the United Nations, Geneva, the Museum of Modern art ( MOMA) New York City, and the UCLA Fowler Museum, Los Angeles. His work is in numerous private collections in South Africa, the UK, USA, France, Italy Switzerland, Germany and Spain.