About The Artist
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
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
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
PRESENTATIONS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
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
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
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