Nicholas Hlobo: Intethe (Sketch for an Opera)

Locust Projects, Miami, United States
09 Nov 2013 - 21 Dec 2013

Now celebrating 15 years of exhibiting experimental contemporary art, Locust Projects presents Intethe (Sketch for an Opera), South African sculptor Nicholas Hlobo’s first major project in Miami. Hlobo is known for creating theatrical environments and sprawling organic sculptures made of materials such as leather and rubber, intricately stitched with ribbon and lace. This installation will incorporate the large-scale sculptures into a multifaceted performance space and video installation. For the first time, he will collaborate with Miami-based Haitian band Papaloko and Loray Mistik on a sketch for an opera titled Intethe (« Locust » in the Xhosa language), exploring notions of shared identity throughout the global African diaspora.

Through his work, Hlobo expresses an interest in the commingling of cultural dichotomies: traditional vs. colonial, rural vs. urban, child vs. adult, straight vs. queer, which are stitched together to form unexpected new tapestries. The performance will explore cultural and spiritual hybridity to which the Haitian musicians’ identities add a new layer. The experimental opera will be set amongst the installation, and part of the gallery will function as a dressing room for the performers, whose costumes will remain in the space when they are not present. The live performance will be presented twice during the exhibition and the original score, written collaboratively by the artist and musicians, will be incorporated into the installation.

Reception for the artists:
Saturday, November 9, 7–10pm and
Thursday, December 5, 7–10pm
Each reception will include a performance by Nicholas Hlobo in collaboration with Miami-based Haitian band Papaloko and Loray Mistik.


Nicholas Hlobo was born in Cape Town in 1975, and lives in Johannesburg. He has a B Tech degree from the
Wits Technikon, Johannesburg (2002). Solo exhibitions have taken place at the National Museum of
Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2011); in the Level 2 Gallery at Tate Modern, London (2008), and at the Boston ICA as part of the Momentum series (2008), among other institutions. In 2011 he showed newly commissioned work on ILLUMInations, the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale; his work also appeared in Venice on The World Belongs to You, works from the Pinault Collection at the Palazzo Grassi, and the Future Generation Art Prize exhibition at the Palazzo Papadopoli. Other notable group exhibitions include Touched, the Liverpool Biennial (2010); the third Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008); and Flow at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2008). He was the Tollman Award winner for 2006, the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2009, and the Rolex Visual Arts Protégé for 2010/11, working with Anish Kapoor as his mentor. Hlobo was awarded the Tollman Award for Visual Art (2006) and has held residencies in Amsterdam and New York. Intethe (Sketch for an Opera) is Nicholas Hlobo’s first exhibition in Miami.

Led by Jude Thegenus, this ten-piece band mixes traditional vodou rhythms with West African percussion, rock and roll, blues, and hip-hop. With Loray Mistik (Mystic Thunder), Papaloko released Ti Moun Yo in 1998, a collection of politically inflected tunes addressing issues ranging from the plight of children in Haiti to police brutality against black men in the United States. Considered “the hardestworking band in the Haitian roots business,” Loray Mistik plays festivals throughout the Caribbean.

Locust Projects
2013 marks the 15th anniversary of Locust Projects, a not-for-profit exhibition space dedicated to providing contemporary visual artists the freedom to experiment with new ideas without the pressures of gallery sales or limitations of conventional exhibition spaces. Founded in 1998 by a trio of Miami-based artists, Locust Projects has become one of the most robust alternative art spaces in the nation, presenting adventurous exhibitions, lectures, education programs and public commissions, all free and open to the public.