Herman Mbamba

Herman Mbamba, Until the wind blows for another time, 2017–18, courtesy Herman Mbamba; blank projects, Cape Town, photo: Edgar Bachel

For Herman Mbamba, painting is a very demanding and even a threatening experience. He starts his painting as a clinch with the canvas, as a body-on-surface relationship. This experience of violence cannot be dissociated from the inherent solitude of the act of painting. Mbamba is painting for himself, not fulfilling the expectations of academics and art experts, who generally want artists from Africa to embody the identity of the whole continent. Being Herman Mbamba and being an artist are enough. This enables him to situate his realm of imagination both within a small town in Norway, where he now lives, and within a larger experience in southern Africa.

Leading up to the 10th Berlin Biennale, Mbamba went on an extended trip to Namibia, his home country, to which he had not returned for over ten years. The works shown in the biennial, such as the large-scale canvas Until the wind blows for another time (2017–18) and the triptych Wait for me in the lurking landscape (2017–18), are inspired by this journey.

—Patrick Mudekereza

  • Akademie der Künste


The blue mandane series 1–5, 2017–18
Acrylic and watercolor on paper

Until the wind blows for another time, 2017–18
Acrylic on canvas

Wait for me in the lurking landscape, 2017–18
Acrylic and oil on canvas, triptych

All works Courtesy Herman Mbamba; blank projects, Cape Town

Commissioned and produced by Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art
With the support of Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA); Königliche Norwegische Botschaft, Berlin