About Bongi Bengu | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
stay safe. info & support on COVID-19 at sacoronavirus.co.za
× art.co.za artists exhibitions training blog shop

About The Artist

Artist Photo

Artist statement

Bongi Bengu's work can be described as social commentary due to her life as a Black/African woman, and a black woman artist.

In her early years, she worked mainly in collage, drawing upon images from popular media, playing with the pervasive representations.

Bongi's recent output – utilising leaves - and engagement with nature, preserving, questioning and re- interpreting the meaning of life and its organisms.

It speaks of the process of decay and renewal (of life). It also echoes her own personal experience of exile and homecoming.

Bongi has moved towards more subtle forms of expression. Her artworks has moved from the specific and more towards a form of expression where light, dark and texture have replaced the more literal expressions - a freedom where the narrative can be submerged and the essence can be explored.

This is an expression of her quest for inner peace and freedom.

Bongi, is seeing more opportunities resulting from the corona virus than the challenges.

It is time for quiet meditation and reflection, returning to the core values of family togetherness, learning to work together in collaboration and as a collective, respecting Mother Nature.

Bongi Bengu Alchemy is all about using the magical power of art to transform all circumstances

Artist CV


  • 1975-1977: Khandisa Primary School, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Grade 1-Grade 2
  • 1978-1987: International School of Geneva, Switzerland. Grade 3-Grade 11
  • 1987-1989: Waterford Kamhlaba, United World College Of Southern Africa, Mbabane, Swaziland. International Baccalaureate
  • 1989-1993: Mount Vernon College, Washington DC, USA, Bachelor of Arts, Cum, Laude. Major: Fine Art
  • 1994-1997: University of Cape Town, South Africa. MFA- Power Gained-Power Lost: Aspects of Contemporary African Woman Visualised


  • 1997: Standard Bank Award: Trainee Curator at the National Gallery, Cape Town
  • 1996 – 1997: University of Cape Town Maclver Scholarship – Award to promising postgraduate women students in Michealis School of Fine Art
  • 1996 – 1997: University of Cape Town CSD Scholarship
  • 1995 – 1997: University of Cape Town A W Mellon
  • 1992: National Museum of African Art Certificate of Recognition Washington DC
  • 1993: Mount Vernon College - Alphi Chi National Honour Society Award
  • 1993: Mount Vernon College - Arts and Humanities Award
  • 1993: Mount Vernon College - Fine Arts Award
  • 1993-1994: Who’s who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges
  • 1992-1993: Mount Vernon College - Merit Award
  • 1987: International School of Geneva-French


  • 2013: Welcome to Bongism, Solo Exhibition, Art Afrique Gallery, Sandton, Johannesburg
  • 2008: Emancipation, Solo Exhibition, Constitutional Hill, Johannesburg
  • 2007: B2B, Solo Show, Westcliff, Johannesuburg.
  • 2004: Woman, Solo show, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2003: Woman, Solo show, The Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 2003: Faces, Solo show, Dat Hoghehus, Germany
  • 1998: Solo Exhibition, Spier Contemporary, Cape Town
  • 1997: Solo Exhibition, Association of Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery, Cape Town


  • 2019: Art Fair, Sydney. Australia
  • 2019: Spell of the Sensuous, The Melrose Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 2018: Ways of Seeing and Beeing Seen,Johannesburg
  • 2018: Harlerm Arts festival, New York
  • 2015: SA Art 21 Years after Democracy, Durban Art Gallery
  • 2015: Identity-Cohesion,Grahamstown Arts Festival
  • 2015: Portretteer, Oude Libertas Gallery, Stellenbosch
  • 2014: Harlem Arts Festival,Chicago,USA
  • 2014: Sanaa Arts Festival,Johannesburg
  • 2014: Eshowe Heritage Arts Festival,KZN
  • 2013: Inkunzi Emanxeba: The legacy continues…, touring exhibition, Durban, Polokwane, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Eastern Cape and Johannesburg
  • 2012: 21BF, a 21st retrospective exhibition, The Bag Factory Studios, Johannesburg
  • 2011: My Selection, Group exhibition, Artspace, Johannesburg
  • 2010: Friends, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 2009: Babette’s Feast, Artspace, Johannesburg
  • 2009: Innovative Women, touring exhibition, Constitutional Hill, Jeannette Unite Studio, Kizo Gallery
  • 2009: Sharing/Shared, Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg
  • 2008: Heptad, Artspace, Johannesburg
  • 2008: Visions, Kizo Gallery, Durban
  • 2007: Possibilities, Mumbai, India.
  • 2005: World beyond Words: A Visual Arts Platform of Contemporary Women’s Art in South Africa, Centre for African Studies Gallery, University of Cape Town
  • 2004: A Decade of Democracy: Witnessing South African Art, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • 2004: Group show, Identity, Fortis Circus Theatre, Scheveningen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2004: Ten Years of Freedom: Contemporary South African Art, Yac Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2003: Group show, Artspace, Johannesburg
  • 2003: Dreams for our Daughters, The Klein Karoo Arts Festival (KKNK), Oudtshoorn, Western Cape
  • 2003: Crossing-Knotting, Berlin, Germany
  • 2002: 10/10, The Bag Factory Studios, Johannesburg
  • 2001: The Big Bag Show, The Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 2001: La Hijas de la Terre, Tenerife, Canary Islands
  • 2001: Viewline, Solothurn, Switzerland
  • 2000: The Hourglass Project, A Woman’s Vision, Atlanta, USA.
  • 2000: Cross cultural currents, Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 2000: Rivers of Spirit: Art Women in the African Diaspora, University of Illinois, USA.
  • 2000: Jak South African Art and Design, London
  • 1999: Group Exhibition, Association of Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery, Cape Town
  • 1998 – 1999: South African Aesthetics, Travelling Exhibition, USA.
  • 1998: Family Ties, Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 1997: La Boheme: Noir, Primart Gallery, Cape Town
  • 1997: Survivors in Search of a Voice: Art Exhibition, Johannesburg
  • 1997: South African Landscapes, Primart Gallery, Cape Town
  • 1996: Cognisance: The Creative Cape, Association of Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery, Cape Town


  • 2006: Landscape International Workshop, Ngong forest, Kenya.
  • 2005: International Workshop, Zambia.
  • 2004: Sansa International Workshop, Kumasi, Ghana
  • 2001: AltesSpital, Solothurn Switzerland
  • 2000: National Black Arts Festival, Atlanta, USA
  • 2000: Gasworks, London
  • 1998: Printmaking Workshop in London with Master - Printer Jack Sheriff
  • 1998: Montana Artist’s Refuge, Montana USA


  • 2013-2014: Bambatha Steering Commette member,DAC
  • 2006: Trustee Arts & Culture Trust.
  • 2003: Board member of Unisa Art Gallery.
  • 2002: University of Cape Town, Cape Town
  • 2000: School of Oriental and African Studies, London
  • 2000: London Print Studio, London


  • MacDonalds,Chicago,USA
  • MTN, Johannesburg
  • Billiton B.H.P., Johannesburg
  • De Beers, Johannesburg
  • Rand Water, Johannesburg
  • Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg
  • Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, USA
  • Musée De la Civilisation, Québec, Canada
  • Department of Arts & Culture, Pretoria
  • The Spier, Stellenbosch
  • SABC, Johannesburg
  • Rand Merchant Bank, Johannesburg
  • UCT, Cape Town
  • Canton of Solothurn Government Offices, Switzerland
  • Nandos Art Collention, London
  • Van Den Ende Collection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • South African High Commission, Maseru, Lesotho

  • Follow this artist