Themba Khumalo born in 1987 in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa is a full time practising artist working from his studio in Johannesburg. He graduated from Artist Proof Studio in printmaking, where he obtained a Design Foundation Certificate. He furthered his printing skills by completing a professional printmaking development course sponsored by Pinpoint One, at Artist Proof Studio in 2009 where he was an intern in the silkscreen unit and special project team.
Khumalo’s practice explores different mediums, such as printmaking, charcoal drawings and painting. More recently exploring painting and sculpture.
He has been involved in many group exhibitions, commissions and special projects. He had his first solo exhibition at Gallery 2 (2016) with his most recent solo exhibition, Emhlabeni, at Gallery 2 in 2019.
Emhlabeni reflects the social, political and spiritual landscape in current South Africa, and the understanding of land as identity. Using current news headlines as an entry into some of the injustice the landscape observes ‘Residents kill red ant’ Daily Sun April 11, 2019. Emhlabeni which loosely translates to earth in English, carries far greater meaning in Isizulu, these meaning are made visible through the nuances expressed in the drawings, painting with coffee to mimic the earth and soil tones and use of vernacular titles. With the attempt to saturate the land, the artists look at umhlaba asa piece of land measured through the size of the drawings. These renditions portray pieces of land as witnesses to the dispossession, illegal occupation as protest, loss of hope and yet through Baba Wethu Osezulwini (prayer) the artist depicts land as refugee, a space faith and healing. Emhlabeni recognises local expression of faith, loss and hope often used in transit between spaces; kusemhlabeni la, kunzima emhlabeni but often one hears kumunandi emhlabeni.
Image credit: Creative Feel Magazine, Dave Mann