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Thembalethu was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape on the 3rd of September 1984.
He completed Foundation Art Studies from P.E College in 2006, and his Fine Arts National Diploma majoring in sculpture and history of art at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) art department in 2011. He then continued to finish his BFA majoring in politics, art history visual culture and practical from Rhodes University in 2013. He is currently studying Performance art NMMU part-time.
Thembalethu has several public sculptures and murals in and around Port Elizabeth that was commissioned and acquired by the NMMU.
He’s had several solo shows with MOK gallery on Muratie Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch since 2016.
Thembalethu’s work boasts a crude appearance. Fuelled by lived experience, he is very spiritual and paints from the heart.
Thembalethu skilfully and purposefully brought together a host of disparate traditions, practices and styles to create a unique visual narrative. The artist exemplifies how emerging African artists today reintroduce the human faces and human figures in their work after the wide success of modern conceptualism.
Inspired by abstract expressionism and cubism, Picasso and Jean Michel Basquiat, he went on to coin the term free form art to describe his style.
Thembalethu is represented permanently by MOK Gallery, and joined Rossouw Modern in the spring of 2018. He will have solo exhibitions at GFI Art Gallery in Port Elizabeth and MOK Gallery in Stellenbosch in October 2018.
His work has already been acquired by several corporate and private collectors.