Nhlanhla Nsudwane

Nhlanhla Nsudwane was born in Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal in July 1962 to a Swazi father and Zulu mother.

He contracted polio as a child and was left physically handicapped, but showed the inner strength of a giant when he discovered a love for sculpting, which he started doing at the age of five.

Despite a superstitious mother who destroyed all his work, he continued creating figures in secret.

Nhlanhla was only able to spend one year at school due to lack of family support. After a difficult early life, he and his wife, Matrinah, found their true home at Ardmore in 1992 with Fèe Halsted.

For several years he and his wife worked together, he sculpting and she painting his pieces. This special relationship tragically came to an end in 1994 when Matrinah was fatally struck by lightning.

Nhlanhla – a prophet and philosopher – continued to develop as an artist and showed his kindness to others in his teaching of the many recruits he introduced to Ardmore.

Although widely known for his sculpted figures such as his Prince Imperial and Zulu War collections, his rabbit teapot and other decorative pieces, with their naïve charm and humour, raised huge interest at Christie’s auction in London, leaving no doubt of his exceptional talent.

Sadly Nhlanhla died in 2015.

Exhibitions

1992


Volkskas ExhibitionDurban

'The Natal Route'Johannesburg

1995


'The Spirit of our Stories' (print exhibition)Grahamstown

1992-1996


Gallery on TyroneJohannesburg

1994


Natal Society of Arts exhibitionDurban

1996


Meklenberg Groote Schuur, Cape Town

1997


State President's Guest HouseBryntirion Estate, Pretoria

Catalyst GalleryJohannesburg


Ardmore ExhibtionSA Embassy Residence, Bonn, Germany

Ardmore ExhibtionMarl Concert Hall, Marl, Germany

Ardmore ExhibtionSiegen, Germany

Ardmore ExhibtionThyssen Forum Dusseldorf, Germany

Everard Read GalleryJohannesburg

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


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

2011


ARS 11Finland

Istanbul BiennaleTurkey