Dumisani Abraham Mabaso

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Biographical information

Synopsis:

South African artist well known for painting and printmaking

First name: 
Dumisani
Last name: 
Mabaso
Date of birth: 
20 June 1955
Location of birth: 
Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa

Dumisani Abraham Mabaso was born on 20 June 1955 in Soweto. He received his initial basic art training at the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) in Dube in Soweto. In 1970 to 1974 he studied art further at the Mofolo Arts Centre and then taught at the YWCA for nearly 2 years. After completing a printmaking course at Rorke’s Drift Art School, Mabaso taught at the Mofolo Arts Centre from 1978-79. In 1980-81 he headed the Fine Art department at the Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA) in Newtown, Johannesburg, and continued studying printmaking at the Witwatersrand Technikon. In 1986 he attended the New York Triangle Workshop, which annually brought together artists from around the world to exchange ideas and share knowledge. In 1987 he participated in the Thupelo Workshops in Johannesburg. Mabaso is a co-founder with Anthony Nkosi of the Hammanskraal Workshop.

Apart from painting, between 1980 and 1987 he taught printmaking at the Johannesburg Art Foundation and the African Institute of Art at Funda (Learning) Centre. Mabaso is also a musician and a runs a recording studio in Soweto. He exhibited extensively in South Africa and abroad (including 5 group shows in the USA).

Richly textured colour is foregrounded in Mabaso’s imagery, which is infused with an eye that looks at the world with wonder. Mabaso is deeply interested in African traditional craft and pottery work, and a preoccupation with pattern can be identified. Rigorous with the very process-oriented medium of printmaking, Mabaso is an artist’s artist. Just as a drawing can be record of the mark-making process that caused it, so Mabaso’s very tactile printmaking approach shows a creative energy thoroughly engaged with the medium as well as the subject. An example of this is his lithographic series Stages of the Day

Solo Exhibitions

1973 Gallery 101, Johannesburg

Group Exhibitions
1976 The Institute of Race Relations
1977 University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
1979 Gallery 21, Johannesburg 
1983 Sguzu Print Workshop, Johannesburg 
1984 Market gallery, Johannesburg 
1985 USA 1986 Hammanskraal S.H.P, Sandton Sun 
1986 Triangle Artists' Workshop, USA 
1988 Torrensville, Australia 
1990 Cape Town National gallery, Zimbabwe 
1991 Maputo, Mozambique 
1993 Sound Shore Gallery, USA 
2000 Cape Town

Workshops
1986 Triangle Artists' Workshop, USA - Thupelo Art Project, Broederstroom 
1987 Thupelo Art Project, Broederstroom 
1989 Thupelo Art Project, Broederstroom 
1990 Pachipamwe Workshop, Zimbabwe 
1991 Ujama Workshop, Mozambique
1992 ART OMI, New York, USA 
1993 Thupelo Artists' Workshop, Cape Town

Public Collections
Johannesburg Art Gallery 
Museum fur Volkerkunde, Frankfort, Germany 
Triangle Collection, Pine Plains, New York, USA 
Ponside Press, USA 
ART OMI, USA

Community Art Projects
1982 - 1994 Founder & director of Sguzu Printmakers' Workshop 
1978 - 1979 S.A.C.C. Self Help Projects 
1993 Exchange programme with art teachers from Mozambique

Last updated : 02-Nov-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011