Umthamo: Nicholas Hlobo and Cinga Samson

WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES Mario Todeschini (© Nicholas Hlobo, Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Maitland Institute, Cape Town)

Maitland Institute presents Umthamo: a deeply engaging installation-cum-exhibition that is, among many things, a dialogue between artist Cinga Samson, artist Nicholas Hlobo and macro-/micro-environments.

In this enthralling exhibition, Nicholas takes his exploration of copper pipes to the next level with a dense arrangement of permeated mass that engages with negative space. Through artful experimentation, Nicholas hopes that his artistic practice with copper will lead him to his next challenge.

The exhibition features tangled angular shapes that mirror the gentle rustling of nature’s own grassy knolls in the wind, the rush of blood from the heart to an artery and the very life-giving processes our cells perform at each moment. The title, Umthamo, translates as the volume of an object in space. Nicholas explains, “The exhibition space has volume in itself and these objects also have volume – it’s about volume within volumes.”

Thoughtful use of space and coil-like twists, Umthamo expresses a conversation between macro- and micro-environments and the larger connective dialogue of one’s self and one’s surroundings. Cinga’s contribution is a painting that resulted from a conversation between the artists.

Titled Diced Pineapple II, the painting is a portrait of a man holding a bouquet engulfed in flora and fauna and functions as an echo of Nicholas’s linear forms, as well as an impetus to intergenerational dialogue.

The exhibition runs until 18 May 2018 at Maitland Institute in Cape Town, located at Unit 15, The Meat Factory, 372 Voortrekker Road, Maitland. For more information, visit