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Lucky Sibiya

( 19
42 - 1999 )

Week 5 
by Andries Loots

Engraved and painted bone

Just one week after my article about the sudden death of the artist Ezron Legae we had some more bad news this week as we saw the departure of another artist Lucky Sibiya,  who died in a car accident. 
"Born in 1942 in Vryheid in Natal. He was the son of a medicine man and since childhood has been introduced to the mysteries of Africa. This has influenced his art and many of the forms and the symbols used derive from this experience. When he was eleven years old his family moved the Sophiatown and later Soweto. He attended the St. Peter's Seminary where he studied for seven years. As a youngster he was introduced to the artist,  Cecil Skotnes who took him on as a private pupil.  For many years Lucy lived at Hammanskraal outside Pretoria,  from where he worked in his modern studio. In 1974 he visited Europe and the USA.  He became known as an engraver. Skotnes introduced Lucy to the wood panel and later the coloured woodcut. Ndebele designs and usage of colour is very prominent in his work.

Oil on Wood Panel,  Flight 1987

Sibiya has done panels,  serigraphs,  colour woodcuts and free standing sculptures in wood,  bone and metal. Central to nearly all his compositions is the human figure. Recurring figures included African warriors,  African matron and certain animals,  birds,  fish and cattle. His woodcuts are timeless,   reminiscent of the ancient traditional art of Africa,  but also at the same time thoroughly modern.

His panels were cut in shallow relief and embellished with paint,  and presented as a finished object in themselves. In certain  areas of the panels he applied the different colours in layers so that the under-colour shines through,  picking up light when correctly displayed. " *

Exhibitions :

He   held his first  one-man exhibitions at Gallery 101 in Johannesburg in 1971.

He had various solo-exhibitions in South Africa but also exhibited in Swaziland and the United Kingdom

1979 Contemporary African Art in South Africa Exhibition
1981 Standard Bank, Soweto, Black Art Today Exhibition
1988 Neglected Tradition Exhibition in Johannesburg


His work is represented in various private and national collections in:

South Africa,    Australia,  United Kingdom and the USA.

Durban Art Gallery
Johannesburg Art Gallery
Pretoria Art Museum
South African National Museum, Cape Town
University of Fort Hare
Sandton Art Collection,  Johannesburg
University of South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley

What made Lucy such a good artist is his usage and combination of line,  shape,  texture and colour.  His compositions achieved unity and coherence and they are always well integrated. Lucy will not only be deeply missed by all his friends and family but also by those who never met him but who are " lucky "  to have his work in their collections.
* IMAGES OF MAN, Contemporary South African Black Art and Artists,  EJ De Jager,  Fort Hare University Press,  First Edition 1992,  ISBN 1-86810-015-4