Drawing from the soul: Nthabiseng Boledi Kekana

“People are energy, energy is matter; matter cannot be destroyed, it can only be transformed” – Nthabiseng Boledi Kekana

Nthabiseng Boledi Kekana’s work centers her work around a profound connection to her heritage, femininity, and spirituality. In her gestural figurative works, Kekana explores otherworldly ideas, guided by her emotions and spirituality; utilising a diverse range of mediums, including oil, charcoal, pastels, and natural fibres, to express the fluidity of creation.  

Late last year David Krut, while in Mayfair, London, visited an exhibition “Dualities” at Undiscovered Canvas. Nthabiseng’s work stood out to him and he immediately made arrangements to see if she would be available to spend time in the workshop making a body of prints. Fast forward to March 2024, Nthabiseng spent a week collaborating with Printer Roxy Kaczmarek at the David Krut Workshop in Maboneng, Johannesburg. Her first foray in printmaking has produced an accomplished body of unique painterly prints – monotypes and a pair of large etchings. 

Kekana’s practice is rooted in the concept of fluidity. Her figures, captured in moments of graceful movement, symbolise a quest for spiritual enlightenment and self-awareness. Kekana’s work is confident, passionate and deeply emotive. Inspired by her matriarchal upbringing and the enduring bonds with the women in her life, Kekana’s art resonates with the power within womanhood. She speaks of ancestral guidance – offering glimpses into ethereal worlds through her art. Her figures are crafted out of a deep place of appreciation for those who have come before her and where they continue to lead her. 

Her art has garnered international recognition, with exhibitions in France and collections held by major collectors worldwide, particularly in London and the United States. Kekana’s artistic achievements include being a finalist for prestigious awards such as the 2021 Cassirer Welz Award and ranking in the Top 6 for the Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize 2022. Kekana has recently completed a residency at the Makwande Art Residency in France in 2023. 

Nthabiseng Kekana, born in 1999, in Johannesburg and raised in Alexandra, discovered her passion for art at an early age and honed her skills at the National School of the Arts, majoring in Three-Dimensional Design. Despite initially pursuing fashion design, she transitioned to Digital Media in Design at the University of Johannesburg, where she earned her degree.  

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