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Germain Ngoma, Steel Bone, 1985, steel and whale tooth, c. 25 x 25 cm
Germain Ngoma, Steel Bone, 1985, steel and whale tooth, c. 25 x 25 cm

Steel Bone: Material Research in the work of Germain Ngoma

This seminar considers the art of Germain Ngoma, reflecting on the material and conceptual mechanics of his work and the research methodologies that underpin them.

Since the 1970s, drawing freely from a range of references, Ngoma has developed a processed-based approach to material sculpture that opens up distinctive forms of knowledge and inquiry. This seminar will reflect on Ngoma’s work, his reception over time, and the experimental pedagogical space he has nurtured at KHiO over many years. The session brings together artists and thinkers who connect to different parts of Ngoma’s long career, with contributions from Ana María Bresciani, Anawana Haloba, Elisabeth Jarstø, Damla Kilickiran, Camille Norment and Drew Snyder, together with the artist himself.

The event is part of a wider project initiated by Tenthaus that includes a solo-exhibition of new works by Germain Ngoma from 11 November – 5 December and the publication of Germain Ngoma: Photography and Sculptural Experiments, 1982 – 2019, the first retrospective monograph of the artist’s career (Uten tittel, 2021). It also includes the public display of Ngoma’s historic work The Morning (1988) in the reception area at KHiO, produced in collaboration with KHiO’s Departments of Fine Art and Art and Craft, Tenthaus and Drew Snyder, and made possible by a generous loan from the City of Oslo Art Collection.

Germain Ngoma was born in Zimbabwe in 1953 and moved to Zambia where began his artistic career in Lusaka in the early 1970s. He moved to Oslo for art school in 1982, enrolling first at Statens håndverks- og kunstindustriskole (National Arts and Crafts School) and then at Statens kunstakademi (National Art Academy) the following year. His work has been exhibited in group shows and solo presentations in Norway at among others Kunstnernes Hus, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo Kunstforening, Kunstnerforbundet, Khartoum Contemporary Art Center and, most recently, at Tenthaus, as well as internationally in Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom and Zambia. In addition to Ngoma’s long career as an artist he has been an important and beloved presence at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts over nearly forty years where, particularly in the sculpture workshops, he has been an influential teacher for generations of young artists.