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Jabu Nene

Jabu Nene 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 sgraffito 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


MeklenbergGroote Schuur, Cape Town

1997


State President's Guest HouseBryntirion Estate, Pretoria

Catalyst GalleryJohannesburg

1998


Ardmore ExhibitionSA Embassy Residence, Germany

Ardmore ExhibitionMarl Concert Hall, Marl, Germany

Ardmore ExhibitionSiegen, Germany

Ardmore ExhibitionThyssen Forum, Dusseldorf, Germany

Everard Read GalleryJohannesburg

'Ardmore - An African Discovery' book launchJohannesburg

1999


Bordeaux St GalleryFranschhoek, Western Cape

Gallery on TyroneJohannesburg

2000


ABSA BankJohannesburg

2001


International Ceramic Arts FestivalWales

Hospice ExhibitionJohannesburg

SA Embassy ExhibitionKuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2002


Charles Greig JewellersHyde Park, Johannesburg

2003


Christie’s ExhibitionLondon

2004


Christie’s AuctionLondon

City Arts CouncilEdinburgh, Scotland

‘Men of Ardmore’Gallery on the Square, Johannesburg

2005


Private ExhibitionHigh Commissioner, Highveld, London

Christopher GreigHyde Park, Johannesburg

2006


Amaridian GalleryNew York

Private ExhibitionHigh Commissioner, Highveld, London

Everard Read GalleryJohannesburg

2007


Christie’s AuctionLondon

‘Cats of the World’Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

2008


Amaridian GalleryNew York

‘Wonderful World of Ardmore’Groote Schuur, Cape Town

2009


South Africa HouseLondon

2010


Anagama GalleryVersailles, France

Pascoe & Co.Florida, United States

SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art)Chicago, United States

‘Travellers of Africa'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

2011


‘Ivory and Ebony’Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town

‘Clay: The Art of Earth & Fire’Tremaine Gallery, Conneticut, United States

Hallwyl MuseumStockholm, Sweden

NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg

Eboka Spring CollectionPretoria

AnagamaVersailles, France

2012


Pascoe & Co.Florida, United States

‘Ardmore Aviary’Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town

Les Ceramiques Zouloues ArdmoreParis, France

‘Endangered Animals’Patrick Mavros, London

'An African Collection’The Milk Factory Gallery, Bowral, Australia

NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg

Fabric and book launch: 'Ardmore, We Are Because of Others'Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town

Fabric and book launch: 'Ardmore, We Are Because of Others'Charles Greig, Johannesburg

Ardmore inLuxembourgLuxembourg

Ardmore in MauritiusMauritius

Ardmore in FranceFrance

Ardmore in SwitzerlandGeneva, Switzerland

Christmas Safari WeekPatrick Mavros, London

A Celebration of Zulu Life and ArtistrySt Louis, United States

Ardmore AustraliaSydney, Australia

2013


Pascoe & Co.Florida, United States

‘Monkeys and Magnolias’Patrick Mavros, London

‘Design Days’Dubai

Isabelle Turquin GalleryParis, France

Journee des ceramiquesParis, France

NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg

'Animal Stories'Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada

‘Just So Crocodiles and Other Curiosities’Patrick Mavros, Johannesburg

Creel and GowLondon

Patrck MavrosHarare, Zimbabwe

2014


Ed PascoeFlorida, United States

'Great Herds of Africa’Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town

‘Great Herds of Africa’Patrick Mavros, London

‘Inspired by the Ocean’Hermanus, Western Cape

‘Birds of Africa'Charles Geig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

‘Great Herds of Africa’Patrick Mavros, Nairobi, Kenya

Art BaselMiami, United States

‘Birds of Africa’Patrick Mavros, Harare, Zimbabwe

2015


WMODAPascoe & Co., Florida, United States

‘Animal Botanical’Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town

2016


‘Kalahari Cats’Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town

‘The Great Zambezi’Patrick Mavros, London

'Celebrating the Year of the Monkey'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

2017


'The Great Zambezi'Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town

'Savuti Dance'Patrick Mavros, London

'o'kavango'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

'pangolin'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg