“Now my worry is that institutions like Driefontein are not as active as they used to be, and the situation does not allow the nurturing of future artists and talents. I am very much worried because many great artists including the one who did the famous Nyami Nyami came from Driefontein”.
Ben Tuge (Zimbabwe, 1969) is a sculptor and master carver currently based in South Africa. The artist completed his art studies at Driefontein Mission in 1992, studying under the internationally renowned Cornealius Manguma.
Deeply inspired from the spirit and the traditions of his motherland, Tuge’ disjointed sculptures remind us 900’ patterns like Giacometti’s verticality, while existing in a biometric, semi-abstract appearance which gives the observers a clear image of the depicted subjects. Working with multiple mediums such as metal, paint, bronze and stainless steel, the artist refers to wood as primary medium for carving, thanks to the texture and grain of the material.
Specialized in human figures, always enriched by his own humoristic touch, the artist portraits the spirit of the African people by mixing typical physiognomic attributes with a fresh, satirical perspective which made him “one of the most promising sculptors emerged from the troubled Southern African country”.
His artworks can be found in private collections in United States, Canada and Italy.