Mongezi Ncaphayi

b. 1983, Benoni, South Africa
Lives and works in Johannesburg


Mongezi Ncaphayi’s paintings employ rich, dynamic, spreading expanses of light, colour, and marked planes on paper. The work presents us with a kind of boundless energy and limitless space that speaks to an artist bent on crafting a cartography towards the profound – pictorial maps to the sublime in an age of trivial joys and the politics of popular bruising.

– Percy Mabandu, Which Way is East? Exhibition Text.

Mongezi Ncaphayi was born in 1983 in Benoni in Eastern Gauteng, South Africa, where he currently lives and works. Following his graduation with a Diploma in Art & Design from the Ekurhuleni East College-Benoni in 2005, Ncaphayi completed a Professional Printmaking Course at Artist Proof Studio in 2008. In 2012, Ncaphayi obtained a Certificate in Advanced Studies from School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA, and went on to receive multiple awards and grants, both locally and internationally. Notably, in 2013, Ncaphayi was the recipient of the prestigious Absa L’atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, earning him a three-month residency at the Cite Des Arts in Paris, France. In 2011, Ncaphayi received the Ampersand Foundation Fellowship in new York City, USA, while, in 2016, he was awarded the Prince Claus Fund Grant in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Artist-in-residency programmes include: The Atelier le Grand Village Residency in Angouleme, France, in 2014; as well as the Thami Manyele Foundation Residency in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2016.

In 2016, Ncaphayi presented his inaugural solo exhibition, Spirit’s Response, as the 2013 Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award-winner, which debuted at the ABSA Art Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. The exhibition traveled to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Spin Street Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa; Alliance Française, Pretoria, South Africa; and the KwaZulu Natal Society of the Arts (KZNSA), Durban, South Africa. Ncaphayi has since presented two solo exhibitions with SMAC Gallery: Journey to the One in 2016 at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg; and Which Way is East? in 2017, a large scale exhibition that first showed at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, and was recreated for an installation at The Vault exhibition space in The Silo District, Cape Town, South Africa. 

Ncaphayi has participated in a number of international group exhibitions and public art projects since the start of his career in 2006. Most recently, Ncaphayi showed work as part of SMAC Gallery’s presentation for 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair at Somerset House in London, UK, in 2017, as well as the 2018 Investec Cape Town Art Fair at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town, South Africa. Additional group exhibitions include: African Amicitiae at the Arti et Amicitiae Society in association with the Thami Mnyele Foundation in Amsterdam, Netherlands; the 10th World Triennial of Printmaking in Chamalieres, France; and A Change in the Narrative: ABSA L’Atelier Winners Exhibition, Absa Art Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa, all in 2017; the 8th International Printmaking Biennale Douro at the Museu do Douro, Peso da Regua, Portugal; and The Art of Humanity at the Rubell and Norman Schafler Gallery, Pratt Institute, New York City, USA, both in 2016; Map of the New Art at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy; Back to the Future II: Abstract Art in South Africa – Past & Present at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, South Africa; and Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity at the Museo Carlo Bilotti in Rome, Italy, all in 2015. Ncaphayi’s work was included in Trans-Atlantic Fun-O-Pack: Print Exchange at the Edinburgh College of Arts in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2012, as well as Reclaiming Lives at the Boston Arts Academy in Boston, USA, in 2009.

Ncaphayi’s work is included in a number of important collections, including: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC, USA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA; Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), Manchester, USA; School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, USA; Tracker South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Paris, France; The Ampersand Foundation (TAF), London, UK; ABSA Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Cuciano Benetton Foundation, Treviso, Italy; Mastercard Collection, Johannesburg, South Africa; The Royal Portfolio Collection, Cape Town, South Africa; The Weise Collection, Stellenbosch, South Africa; and David Krut Projects, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, and New York City, USA.


  • Mongezi Ncaphayi has has conducted presentations, talks and demonstrations at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
  • He participated in Print Promises, a printmaking exhibition at the IZIKO South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, which ran until 8 September 2018.



[upcoming] Investec Cape Town Art Fair | Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) | Cape Town, South Africa | 2019

Wish You Were Here | SMAC Gallery | Cape Town, South Africa | 2018

aaa_bstract travelling | C-Gallery | Milan, Italy | 2018

Print Promises | Iziko South African National Gallery | Cape Town, South Africa | 2018

FNB Joburg Art Fair | Sandton Convention Centre | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2018

Atelier le Grand Village Lithos | Trent Gallery | Pretoria, South Africa | 2018

Back to the Future III – Abstract Art in South Africa: Past & Present | SMAC Gallery | Stellenbosch, South Africa |  2018

PROOF | SMAC Gallery | Stellenbosch, South Africa | 2018

Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2018 | Cape Town Convention Centre | Cape Town, South Africa | 2018

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair | Somerset House | London, UK | 2017

FNB Joburg Art Fair 2017 | Sandton Convention Centre | Johannesburg, South Africa |  2017

African Amicitiae, Arti et Amicitiae Society in association with Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands | 2017

Cape Town Art Fair 2017 | Cape Town Convention Centre | Cape Town, South Africa | 2017

10th  World Triennial of Printmaking| Galerie d’Art Contemporain de Chamalières (AMAC) | Chamalières, France | 2017

A Change in the Narrative: ABSA L’Atelier Winners Exhibition | ABSA Gallery | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2017

/’Atmes,fir/ | David Krut Chelsea | New York City, USA | 2017

 Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity | Pratt Institute, The Rubelle And Norman Schafler Gallery | New York City | USA | 2016

FNB Joburg Art Fair 2016 | Sandton Convention Centre | Johannsburg, South Africa | 2016

Exhibition of Lithographs | de l’Atelier le Grand Village | Les Salles-Lavauguyon, France |2016.

Upstart/Startup | SMAC Gallery | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2016

Nothing Personal | SMAC Gallery | Stellenbosch, South Africa | 2016

Cape Town Art Fair 2016 | Cape Town Convention Centre | Cape Town, South Africa | 2016

Back to the Future II. Abstract Art in South Africa: Past and Present | SMAC Gallery | Stellenbosch, South Africa | 2015

Pooling our Secrets | SMAC Gallery | Stellenbosch, South Africa | 2015

South African Voices | Washington Printmakers Gallery | Washington DC, USA | 2014

Rethink ink: Juried Show | Cantor Art Gallery | Boston, USA | 2012

ABSA L’Atelier Finalist | ABSA Gallery | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2013

re–Think INK: 25 Years at Mixit Print Studio | Boston Public Library | Boston, USA | 2012


Samuel Reilly | Apollo | What not to miss at 1-54 in London | 3 October 2018 – PDF

Creative Feel | Mongezi Ncaphayi’s musically inspired ‘visual compositions’ solo exhibition | 4 February 2016 – PDF

ArtAfrica | ARTsouthAFRICA in conversation with Mongezi Ncaphayi | 13 August 2015 – PDF

Matthew Krouse | Mail & Guardian | Mongezi Ncaphayi: Striking art is his raison d’être | 26 July 2013 – PDF