Mongezi Ncaphayi South African, b. 1983

Mongezi Ncaphayi’s practice demonstrates, across multiple planes of dimension, his attempt to map his own subconscious. Inspired heavily by jazz as a saxophonist, and informed by personal traumas and lived experience, his highly emotive works form an abstract visual language uniquely his own. Forms of movement are integral for his practice - visually capturing how he listens and how he responds to his inner emotions. ‘The compositions are free flowing improvisations: ’It’s a communication between the work and myself,’’ says Ncaphayi. ’I do not always know what I am connected to, but there are different ways of listening.”


Mongezi Ncaphayi was born in 1983 in Benoni in Eastern Gauteng, South Africa, and currently lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. Following his graduation with a Diploma in Art and Design from the Ekurhuleni East College-Benoni in 2005, Ncaphayi completed a Professional Printmaking Course at Artist Proof Studio in 2008. In 2012, he obtained a Certificate in Advanced Studies from School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA. Ncaphayi was the recipient of the prestigious Absa L’atelier Gerard Sekoto Award in 2013, 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 a grant from the Prince Claus Fund Grant in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Selected artist-in-residency programmes include: The Atelier le Grand Village Residency in Angouleme, France, in 2014 and the Thami Mnyele Foundation Residency in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2016.

In 2019, Ncaphayi received the Africa First Art Prize, awarding him a residency in Israel which culminated in a solo presentation of new works at the 2020 Investec Cape Town Art Fair in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2020, Ncaphayi participated in the inaugural Stellenbosch Triennale, curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa, in the group exhibition Tomorrow there will be more of us. In 2023, Ncaphayi was selected as a finalist for the Sovereign African Art Prize at the Norval Foundation, South Africa.


Ncaphayi’s work is included in a number of important collections, including: the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC, USA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA; Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), Manchester, USA; Schooul of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, USA; Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, France; The Ampersand Foundation (TAF), London, UK; ABSA Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; the Luciano Benetton Foundation, Treviso, Italy among others.