Freddy Ramabulana

BORN:    1930 in Venda, South Africa

In common with other artists living and working in Venda, Freddy was trained from an early age in traditional wood carving and wire weaving techniques.

Ramabulana=s work is an intensely personal and individual response to the contrasting values that affect the day to day life of the artist.  These values are shaped by the modern Western cultural life against the backdrop of the poorer, more traditional rural life.

Ramabulana  uses a traditional medium - wood - which is carved in a traditional way ie roughly, with simplification of form and feature.  He then shows the Western influence by dressing his sculptures in Western clothing.  He achieves a stark and dramatic contrast which is further emphasised by the artist=s use of multi media, embellishing the rough, scarecrow-like figures with glass eyes, wigs and tattered clothing.

David Rossouw, internationally recognised expert on Venda Art, describes Ramabulana=s work as Augly@.  Despite this, he says that Ramabulana is Athe most modern of all the Venda artists@.  This is an intriguing observation considering the context in which this artist works.

The artist lives with his mother in his kraal in Nzhelele, Venda, carrying out odd jobs and carving to make ends meet.



1998                >Northe by Northeast II= - Knysna Fine Art, Knysna

1993                >North by North East= - Everard Read Contemporary Gallery

                       >Venda= - Gallery Charlotte Daneel, Amsterdam

1991                >Town Country= - The Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg

1990                >Afrika Now= - the Sanderling Gallery, Johannesburg

                       >Art from South Africa= - Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England; subsequently toured England

1988                >Venda= - the Sanderling Gallery, Johannesburg


  • freddy ramabulana_1
  • freddy ramabulana_2