Culture In Coronaville…


I experienced a cultural orgasm on Saturday.

I actually unearthed safe, external, visual stimulation.

I read about a South African artist who was having an exhibit at a strictly enforced Coronaville gallery.

Time slots were few and far between.  I was able to score two 3pm reservations.

After a delightful day reading and walking on a relatively empty Santa Monica beach we hopped on the 10 Freeway to the 110 South and arrived at a desolate, industrial section of downtown Los Angeles.

Parking amongst the encampments and garbage strewn streets appeared daunting and then I spotted an unmarked  building with a protected parking area.

We pulled in and a renovated edifice stood proudly with huge windows framed in black iron. We entered into a labyrinth of galleries many still under construction.

Midway down the long hall we found the Nicodim Gallery exhibit: Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake look that Fed the Chameleon.

Only three other socially overly distanced humans were mingling amongst the striking artwork.

I was initially drawn to the exhibit because the artist is South African and I thought my husband would enjoy a cultural reflection from where he grew up.

The artist, who was born in Capetown in 1990 and presently lives in LA and South Africa, reimagines Black bodies as mythical and fantastic beings capable of inhabiting multiple dimensions.

His figures fly, flail and dance their way from sculpture to canvas through multiple environments, highlighting the fluidity of the human body.

Like the snake, his characters can be cold-blooded and stealthy and as with the chameleon, they are capable of change.

Ndzube’s work is characterised by a fundamental interplay between objects and three-dimensional surfaces.

He is creating  a subjective account of the Black experience in post-apartheid South Africa from a mythological perspective.

Take the tour:

This structure is based on those of the townships surrounding Cape Town, South Africa, where Ndzube was born and raised.


There is a darkness reflected in his art, but Ndzube  is convinced that soon the light will dawn.

Ndzube’s work has been on display around the world.

It felt mighty good after one year of cultural lockdown to be stimulated by an artistic, colorful outside influence.

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon Nicodim Gallery 1700 South Santa Fe Avenue Los Angeles, California. Reservations online. The exhibit is on display through March 20th, 2021.

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