Vusi Khumalo was born in Balfour North, Gauteng, South Africa in 1951.
Vusi Khumalo's work is immediately arresting; the sheer power and individuality of what he portrays and how he creates it marks him out as one of Africa's most gifted and exciting contemporary artists.This is a far cry from fourteen years previously when Khumalo, his wife and family fled into exile, first to a camp in Zambia and then to one at Dakawa in Tanzania. Their membership of the African National Congress was incompatible with the government that then ran South Africa.
The time spent at the A.N.C. Dakawa Camp gave Khumalo the opportunity to pursue, on a more permanent basis, his lifelong interest in painting. He enrolled on a G.C.S.E. correspondence course with London University and then attended a summer course at Gerlesberg Art School in Sweden. He helped establish and run an Art and Craft community centre at the Dakawa camp which he re-established in Grahamstown when he was repatriated to South Africa in 1992. Two years later he was awarded a one year scholarship to attend Koustfack Art School in Sweden and held his first one man exhibition there that year.
Over the years Khumalo's work has attracted an ever-increasing appreciative audience. His collages, which concentrate almost exclusively on the townships and squatter camps which are still home to hundreds of thousands of South Africans, have an immediacy about them which make them compelling.
Khumalo uses locally gathered material - discarded tins and cans, stones, clothes and wood and re-assembles them to create immensely powerful images. He possesses an uncanny natural ability to create perspective - often cutting hundreds of pieces of rusted metal into different shapes and sizes and nailing onto a board to re-create the very real feeling of the almost endless progression of shanty huts stretching to the horizon.
In many ways Khumalo's work has parallels with that of L.S. Lowry. Both artists created their own individual style to portray aspects of social life with which they were intimately familiar. In future years Khumalo's depiction of life in the South African townships is likely to be regarded as an important social and historical record of the uncomfortable reality of the conditions in which so many people existed.
Portland Gallery held Khumalo's first solo exhibition in London in November 2000.
Exhibitions and Awards Include:
1988 Saba Saba National Exhibition in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
1989 Part of a touring group exhibition in Sweden and Norway
1990 Wall hanging in the collection of Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity
1991 Award for the Best Student in Egg Tempera Technique at Gerlesberg Art School, Sweden
1994 Solo Exhibition, Konstfack National Art College, Stockholm
1995 Solo Exhibition - Wezandla Gallery, Port Elizabeth
1996 Two Man Exhibition - Albany Museum, Grahamstown Art Festival
Solo Exhibition - Me and Myself, Wezandla Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth Textile Art Printing and Painting
1998 Solo Exhibition - Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
Solo Exhibition - Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town
2000 Solo Exhibition - Portland Gallery, London
2003 Solo Exhibition - Everard Read Gallery, Johannasburg
2005 Solo Exhibition - Portland Gallery, London
2007 Solo Exhibition - Portland Gallery, London
2009 Solo Exhibition - Everard Read Gallery, Johannasburg