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Chaotic Pleasure

Chaotic Pleasure

Blessing Ngobeni, Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art

Chaotic Pleasure is a much anticipated body of work: a project conceived as a response to receiving the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts, which was announced in November 2019. The paradoxical title of this work represents a quintessential feature of Blessing’s work – his ability to manipulate and conjugate seemingly incongruous words to flummox, challenge and inspire the viewer. This exhibition serves as both an observation and a form of confronting complex issues of power and abuse. Since his first solo exhibition at Everard Read’s CIRCA gallery in 2016, titled Song of Chicotte, Ngobeni has continued to strengthen his oeuvre by consistently delivering projects that, seemingly effortlessly, present a combination of aesthetic and socio-political critical dialogues. His diverse artistry, skilfully realised in various mediums such as collages on canvas, stainless-steel sculptures and animated videos, played a significant role in both his nomination and winning of this award.


Genre: Visual Art

Format: Filmed installation

Duration: 15mins

Language: English

Ages: All ages

Venue: Monument Gallery

Duration: 8 – 18 July 2021

Opening Times: 09h00 – 17h00



All artworks courtesy of Blessing Ngobeni and Everard Read Gallery

Curated by Musa N Nxumalo
Video: Too Social Media
Publication: Triple M Design


Blessing Ngobeni was born in 1985 in a small rural town of Tzaneen in Limpopo. At the age of 10, he moved to Johannesburg where, after a tumultuous decade, he entered the contemporary art scene. Bringing with him a unique style and a critique of political regimes, Ngobeni made the corruption, incompetence and duplicity of the South African ruling elite the subjects of his art. He tackled the disconcerting consequences of betraying democratic ideals, the failure to learn from historical tragedies, and the expanding gap between the rich and poor. This critique is informed by Ngobeni’s own experience, the hardships and challenges he had to confront as a child and adolescent.

In 2011, Ngobeni received the Reinhold Cassirer Award which afforded him a three-month residency at the Bag Factory in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. During his residency, he interacted with veteran artists David Koloane, Patrick Mautloa and Sam Nhlengethwa, who further motivated his aspirations of pursuing art seriously. He also benefited from visiting international artists; one outcome being the Emergency Exit exhibition, for which he collaborated with Nigerian artist Omega Udemba in 2012. He is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art for 2020.