Profile: Dumisani Sibisi

Artist Name: Dumisani Sibisi

Location: Soweto South Africa

Date of Birth: March 1962

Dumisani attended the Emaweni Primary School, where he started copying drawings from textbooks. At the tender age of nine, he started sketching everything around him. Thereafter, he attended Enkanyezini Higher Primary School where an art teacher gave lessons as part of the curriculum.                                                                                                                                 While studying technical drawings at Jubalani Technical High School, he met Sydney Khumalo and Ezrom Legae and was asked to join them at their studios where he worked with them for three years. He had left the High School and now participated in joint exhibitions with them and other artists at the Community Halls in Soweto. In 1986 he taught art part-time for two years and assisted the teachers at Winnie Ngwekazi, a programme sponsored by DuPont. He was commissioned in 1990 to do illustrations for James Sofasonke Mpanza, the "Father of Soweto".

In 1975 he won an award in the Maize Board Art Competition Groupshow SA as well as at the Association of Art Johannesburg 1977
In 1989 taught art and Craft part-time to assist the teachers at Winnie Ngwekazi, this was sponsored by Du Pont.

His collages and three-dimensional images are chiefly of the townships, which Sibisi paints only to record a particular reality, actually wishing for it to disappear. Sibisi does not idealize, showing plainly the poverty and deprivation that millions of black Africans continue to struggle with. He collects the scraps, wastes and off cuts that litter township streets and incorporates them into his paintings, recycling discarded materials and giving them a new function. His streets are starkly empty but for a few monumental figures, burdened by the physical loads they are forced to carry as they walk for miles to their destination, or wait to catch a taxi. Township houses are covered with ads for detergent and toothpaste, while the roofs, as in reality protrude with corrugated metal and well-dented motor vehicles.


Despite the bleakness of such images which Sibisi paints in a muddy brown and grey palette there prevails a message of hope. A dove with an olive branch carries a potent message: let there finally be peace in this broken land. He has sold works both locally in South Africa and abroad.


1990-2001: Exhibitions in Joburg, Australia, Portugal and USA
1994: "Creating Peace from the Pieces", Natalie Knight Gallery
1993: "Cultural Diversity" Natalie Knight Gallery, Toronto
1992: "Art, Craft Jazz for Africa" in Pretoria
1990: "Leading African Artists" Exhibit, Dom Pedro Marina, Portugal
1990: "Contemporary Artist" Exhibit, Australia
1990: Tour with South African Black Businessmen, U.S.A.                                           1989: "Contemporary Artists" show at the Serependity gallery
1977: Groupshow SA Association of Art Johburg


1975: Won an award in the Maize Board Art Competition

Notable events:

2002: Dumsani created one of the adverts on billboards placed all over SA to welcome the British Cricket team to the ICC week
2001: Commissioned to do book cover for the book of languages for MBV consulting group
1990: Commissioned to do illustrations for the "James Sofasonke Mpanza, The Father of Soweto" book
1984 : Detained during the public violence at Jabulani because of the political nature of his drawings and paintings at that time

Click here to view Dumisani's paintings


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