Thembalethu Manqunyana


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.

Thembalethu’s work boasts a crude appearance. Fueled 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 had his first solo exhibition in May 2023 in London, UK.


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