Jabu Nene

Jabu discovered her passion for art while at school. In 1991, when she was 15 years old, she was introduced to the colourful world of Ardmore Ceramic Art and its founder Fée Halsted.

Her mentor was the renowned Ardmore painter, Punch Shabalala, who guided her creative spirit.

Jabu does not paint from nature but fills the petals, leaves and animals’ skin that she creates with geometric designs, zigzags, chevrons and squares in earthy tones.

Her palette features soft pinks and rich browns, and she often scratches intensely into her paint with a sharp piece of wire, creating a scraffito effect.

She has formed an enduring collaboration with the brilliant sculptor Somandla Ntshalintshali.

Jabu’s exceptionally striking and bold pieces have earned her the position of one of Ardmore’s leading painters. Her artworks, included in the Christie’s exhibition in London in January 2004, received high acclaim. She also represented Ardmore at the Edinburgh exhibition celebrating 10 years of democracy in South Africa, in January 2004.

In 2011 she had her Lion-Leopard Hunting Urn selected for the Korean Biennale and was awarded a certificate of merit.

When Zimbabwean, Alex Sibande, joined Ardmore in 2010, Jabu teamed up with him and has for the past couple of years painted his traveller series of sculptures. Jabu’s floral decorative patterns adorn Alex’s Hippo riders and remind us of the turquoise hippo sculptures from an ancient Egyptian era. The Basel Cultural Museum bought two of her Hippo riders for their collection.

In 2013 Jabu and Somandla’s elephant vessel painted in intricate patterns was selected to be shipped to London for an interiors magazine photo shoot and the following year, 2014, a similar vessel was selected by Southern Guild to represent SA at the Art Basel Design Fair in Miami. It was sold on opening night.

In 2015 Ardmore celebrated 30 years and Jabu, together with sculptor Petros Gumbi, created a series of 30 storytelling Zulu figures honouring the work of Bonnie Ntalintshali and Wonderboy Nxumalo, in miniature.

In 2016, at the ‘Celebrating the Year of the Monkey’ exhibition Somandla and Jabu’s large rhino vessel realised the highest price ever for an Ardmore piece.
The Cole & Son wallpaper inspired by this piece was named after her.

Exhibitions

Awards

2011


Merit awardKorean Biennale

Exhibitions

1994


Natal Society of Arts exhibitionDurban

1996


Meklenberg Groote SchuurCape Town

1997


State President's Guest House, Bryntirion EstatePretoria

Catalyst GalleryJohannesburg

1998


Exhibition SA Embassy ResidenceGermany

Marl Concert HallGermany

Germany Exhibition SiegenGermany

Thyssen Forum DusseldorfGermany

Everard Read GalleryJohannesburg

ArdmoreJohannesburg

1999


Bordeaux St GalleryWestern Cape

Gallery on TyroneJohannesburg

2000


ABSA BankJohannesburg

2001


International Ceramic Arts FestivalWales

Hospice ExhibitionJohannesburg

SA Embassy ExhibitionMalaysia

2002


Charles Greig JewellersJohannesbu

2003


Christie’s exhibitionLondon

2004


Christie’s auctionLondon

City Arts CouncilScotland

‘Men of Ardmore’Johannesburg

2005


Private exhibitioLondon

Christopher GreigJohannesburg

2006


Amaridian GalleryNew York

Private exhibitionLondon

Everard Read GalleryJohannesburg

2007


Christie’s auctionLondon

‘Cats of the World’Johannesburg

2008


Amaridian GalleryNew York

‘Wonderful World of Ardmore’Cape Town

2009


South Africa HouseLondon

2010


Anagama GalleryFrance

Pascoe & Co.United States

SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art)United States

‘Travellers of Africa'Johannesburg

2011


‘Ivory and Ebony’Cape Town

‘Clay: The Art of Earth & Fire’United States

Hallwyl MuseumSweden

NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg

Eboka Spring CollectionPretoria

AnagamaFrance

2012


Pascoe & Co.United States

‘Ardmore Avairy’Cape Town

Les Ceramiques Zouloues ArdmoreParis

‘Endangered Animals’ ExhibitionLondon

An African Collection’Australia

Naada FaireJohannesburg

Ardmore CarnivalCape Town

Ardmore CarnivalJohannesburg

ArdmoreLuxembourg

ArdmoreMauritius

ArdmoreFrance

ArdmoreGeneva

Patrick Mavros Christmas Safari WeekLondon

A celebration of Zulu Life and ArtistryUnited States

Ardmore AustraliaSydney

2013


Pascoe & Co.United States

‘Monkeys and Magnolias’London

‘Design Days’Dubai

Isabelle Turquin GalleryFrance

Journee des ceramiquesFrance

Naada FaireJohannesburg

Animal StoriesCanada

‘Just so Crocodiles and Other Curiosities’Johannesburg

Creel and GowLondon

Patrck MavrosZimbabwe

2014


Ed PascoeUnited States

'Great Herds of Africa’Cape Town

‘Great Herds of Africa’London

‘Inspired by the Ocean’Hermanus

‘Birds of Africa'Johannesburg

‘Great Herds of Africa’Kenya

Art BaselUnited States

‘Birds of Africa’Zimbabwe

2015


WMODA Pascoe & Co.United States

‘Animal Botanical’Cape Town

2016


‘Kalahari Cats’Cape Town

‘The Great Zambezi’London

Celebrating the Year of the MonkeyCharles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

2017


The Great ZambeziCellars-Hohenot, Cape Town