Thembalethu Manqunyana hails from Kwazakhele in Gqeberha previously known as Port Elizabeth. Thembalethu discovered his passion for art at a very young age and harnessed his skills of painting throughout his childhood and adolescent stage. He pursued his dreams by studying Arts and Design at Port Elizabeth College from 2005-2006. Thereafter he studied Fine Art (Sculpture) at Nelson Mandela University from 2007-2011. Thembalethu then proceeded with his art studies at Rhodes University from 2012-2013 attaining a Bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts in Politics, Psychology, Art History, Visual Culture and Xhosa. In 2011, during his third year at Nelson Mandela University, together with class mates and B-Tech Sculpture students he worked with the MBDA to create the public sculpture icons of govern Mbeki, Ray Mhlaba, Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, and Lilian Ngoyi that are displayed at the Athenaeum in Central, Port Elizabeth.
In 2012, Thembalethu was the gallery assistant at the Albany Museum during which time he assisted Clare Menck with the curation of her solo exhibition. Thembalethu was also involved in an exhibition of the renowned knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa in Port Elizabeth in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 he started FreeForm Artist Movement Exhibition for all young up and coming artists to display their artworks around Port Elizabeth. In 2015 he was part of the One Blood Festival Exhibition at the Grand Hotel in Port Elizabeth. Following this, he did an internship and Art Residence at the Warren Edition Studio in Cape Town. Thembalethu concluded the year 2015 by winning an award for the most promising artist in the Eastern Cape at ARTEC’s Annual Exhibition. Thembalathu had his first solo exhibition at ARTEC in 2017 and another solo exhibition in Stellenbosch at the MOK Gallery at Muratie Wine Estate. Thembalethu currently lives and works in Observatory in Cape Town whilst travelling around the country to showcase his work.
EXHIBITIONS AND AWARDS
2022- “Dialect” (Duo Exhibition) – Mitochondria Gallery, Houston, TX
2022- “Contemporary South Africa”. – Thompson Gallery, London, England.
2022- “Art in the Yard,” (Group Exhibition) Franschoek 2022 40th Annual Exhibition
2022- Daor Gallery (Group Exhibition)
2022- “Voices from Within” (Solo Exhibition) – Candice German Gallery JHB
2021- “Ingcingani” (Solo Exhibition) – SPACE Modern, Herman’s, South Africa
2018- Solo Exhibition, GFI Gallery, Gqeberha
2017- Solo Exhibition, Artec Gallery
2016- Solo Exhibition Mok Gallery at Moratie Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
2005-2006- Art and Design, Port Elizabeth College
2007-2011 Fine Art Sculpture at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
2012-2013 – BFA, Art History, Visual Culture, Xhosa, Psychology, Politics, Rhodes University
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