Ben Wa Mokoena Arnold was born on 19 July 1942 in Johannesburg. Arnold attended school in Albertville, Newclare and Coronationville. In 1957 he studied under Cecil Skotnes at Poly Street Art Center and later was a pupil of Sydney Kumalo. From 1961 to 1968 he was an assistant an teacher at Jubilee Art Center. From 1966 to 1968 he taught sculpture at Dube Art Project Zenzele, a centre for children in Soweto.

In 1972 he taught Art at AMDA, Bosmont Recreation Centre. From 1980 to 1982 and from 1985 to the present, he has taught sculpture at local art schools and has studio at the Bag Factory.

He converted to the Islamic faith in 1981. He grew up among Muslims in Albertville and was drawn to the Islamic faith early in his life. Despite his upbringing in a Protestant home, the ecstatic dancing of dervishes captivated his imagination. His parents were respected members of the Dutch Reformed Church in which his father served as an elder.

Curriculum Vitae


1960: Queens An Gallery, Johannesburg (Polly Street Group).

1961: Queens Art Gallery, Johannesburg (group). Pretoria (Jacaranda Festival),

1963: Gallery 101. Lidchi An Gallery, Cape Town (Polly Street Artists)

1964: Egon Guenther Gallery, Johannesburg (solo; German artist).

1965: Egon Guenther Gallery, Johannesburg (New).

1966: Adier Fielding Galleries, Johannesburg (two-pa exhibition with Bill Ainslie; The Year's Findings).

1967: Adier Fielding Galleries, Johannesburg (SA; The Findings II). Avant Garde Caller/Johannesburg (solo).

1968: Green Point, Cape town (Cape Arts Festival). Argus Building, Cape Town (group). Lidchi Art Gallery, Johannesburg (group). United States Information Service Auditorium, Joburg (two-person exhibition with Trevor Stone).

1969: Lidchi Art Gallery, Johannesburg (solo). Helen de Leeuw Gallery (Polly Street Artists).

1970: Lidchi Art Gallery (two-person exhibition with Ben Macala).

1971: Gallery 101 (Mother and Child). Bosmont Recreation Centre (two-person exhibition with Sydney Beck).

1972: Gallery 101 (Sculpture””Transvaal). Standard Bank, Johannesburg. Gallery 21 (25 African artists).

1975: National Museum and Art Gallery, Gaborone, (solo).

1977: Nigeria (Festac ”” 2nd World Black and Africa festival of arts and Culture).

1978: National Museum and An Gallery, Gaborone, 1 (Tuka Cultural Unit). Milner Park, Johannesburg (Expo Africa 78). 1979: Lidchi An Gallery, Johannesburg (solo).

1979-80: SAAA Johannesburg and Pretoria (Renaissance1979)

1981: Jabulani Standard Bank, Soweto (Black Art Today

1982: National Museum and An Gallery, Gaborone, (An Toward Social Development An exhibit! Art).

1984: Sunnypark, Pretoria (MAACA).

1985: Africana Museum in Progress, Johannesburg Tributaries).


1961: Church commission at Welkom, Orange Free state

1968: Central News Agency boardroom, Johannesburg

1981: Church commission at Kroonstad, Orange Free!


Sack, S. (1988)

Collections in the Archives