Mongezi Ncaphayi

South Africa

Mongezi Ncaphayi’s (b. 1983) work has long stood out from his contemporaries for its abstract qualities. His lithographic prints are intricate webs, carefully mapped out, as if tracing the stories of an organically evolving landscape. He describes them as ‘making maps to the unknown’.  Influenced by South Africa’s history of migrant labour as well as by jazz music, Ncaphayi’s creations burst with a mindful presence. His practise is simultaneously a form of being, of movement, of moving forward to a higher state.


Guns & Rain has showcased Ncaphayi’s work since 2014. He was the 2013 recipient of the prestigious ABSA L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, which facilitated his completion of two residencies in 2014: at Atelier le Grand Village (Angouleme, France), and at Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris, France).  In 2016, Ncaphayi undertook a residency at the Thami Mnyele Foundation in Amsterdam. He has also had residencies at The Ampersand Foundation (New York, U.S.A), Mixit Print Studio (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) and Nirox Foundation (Johannesburg, S.A.), among others.  


His work is in the collections of the South African National Gallery, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (the national collection of prints), the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Mastercard, Southern New Hampshire University, U.S.A, Jack Ginsberg, The Ampersand Foundation and more.  His first solo exhibition, Spirit’s Response, opened at the ABSA Art Gallery in February 2016, and was well received throughout its countrywide tour.  Journey to the One, his second solo show, was hosted at SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg, also in 2016. Ncaphayi has received extensive local and international recognition for his work, including multiple awards, and has held a host of group and solo shows in multiple countries.

Exhibitions, Awards & Collections


2019 – Africa First Art Prize (AFAP), Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa.

2018 – Artist in Residence, Mixit Print Studio, Boston, USA.

2018 – Artist in Residence, Atelier Le Grand Village, Angouleme, France.

2016 – Artist in Residence, Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

2013 ABSA L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award

2012 1st prize –“Decision 2012” – Printmaking Juried Show, School of the Museum of Fine Arts

2011 Fellowship – Ampersand Foundation, New York

2011 Scholarship – School of the Museum of Fine Arts


Select Exhibitions

2018 – Wish You Were Here, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2018 – aaa_bstract travelling, C-Gallery, Milan, Italy

2018 – Print Promises, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2018 – FNB Joburg Art Fair, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

2018 – Atelier le Grand Village Lithos, Trent Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

2018 – Back to the Future III – Abstract Art in South Africa: Past & Present, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa

2018 – PROOF , SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa

2018 – Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2018, Cape Town Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

2017: 10th Print Triennial Chamalières, France

2017 ‘A Change in the Narrative’: ABSA L’Atelier winners exhibition, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg

2017 ‘/’atmes,fir/’: Group Exhibition: DK Chelsea, New York City

2017 ‘Which Way is East?’, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town

2016 ‘Journey to the One’, SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg

2016: Douro Print Biennial, Portugal

2015 ‘Pooling Our Secret’: Group Exhibition, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch

2013 Rethink Ink: Juried Show – Cantor Art Gallery, Boston, U.S.A

2013 ABSA L’Atelier Competition, Johannesburg

2013 “Making Connections” Peck School Of Arts, Milwaukee, U.S.A.

2012 Gallery 2, Johannesburg

2012 “Coming Of Age: 21 Years Of Artist Proof Studio”, Johannesburg Art Gallery

2012 “Rethink-Ink, Mixit At 25”, Boston Public Library, U.S.A.

2012 “Juried Show”, Boston Public Library, Boston,U.S.A.

2010 ABSA Gallery (L’Atelier Finalist), Johannesburg

2009 “Reclaiming Lives” Boston Arts Academy, Boston, U.S.A.

2009 Artist Proof Studio Gallery, Johannesburg

2009 Absa Gallery (L’atelier Finalist – Catalogued), Johannesburg


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