Photo of Shepherd Mbanya

Shepherd Mbanya

Shepherd Mbanya (b. 1965) was born in Bishop Lavis on the northern outskirts of Cape Town,  but was raised in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. He later lived in Nyanga and surrounding communities for many years, and presently lives in Khayelitsha. Mentored by Isaac Makeleni, Mbanya’s evocative sculptures and paintings use narrative forms to communicate his often critical views on contemporary issues.

From the Against the Grain catalogue: “Mbanya applies a range of visual idioms, often within the same work, ranging from the lifelike to the abstract, the literal to the conceptual… Mbanya is strongly invested in narrative as a means of articulating and communicating his views on contemporary issues. His position is often boldly critical of power and politics, giving voice to dispossessed communities whose visions of a brighter future remain clouded by unfulfilled promises.”


Sivuyile College of Education. Largely self-taught artist.

Group Exhibitions

2013-14 Against the Grain: Sculptors from the Cape. Iziko South African National Gallery, Sanlam Art Gallery.

2013 Invocation. The Cape Gallery, Cape Town

2012 Siyakubona. The Cape Gallery.

2012 Turn Around Time: Annual Winter Solstice Exhibition. The Cape Gallery

2011: 20 Years: Thami Mnyele Foundation. Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam.

2011 Continuum: Annual Winter Solstice Exhibition. The Cape Gallery

2007: africa south.  AVA, Cape Town

2005 Encompass. Cape Gallery

1996:  Sculptors in wood. AVA.

1992: Unidentified gallery, Stellenbosch

1992-93 Made in Wood: Work from the Western Cape. South African National Gallery, Cape Town

1991: Visual Arts Group travelling exhibition. Zolani Centre, Nyanga East; Manenberg Peoples Centre; Uluntu Centre, Guguletu; Centre for African Studies, UCT.

1991:  South African Association of Arts, Cape Town


Iziko Museums of South Africa

Thami Mnyele Foundation, Netherlands

Sanlam Art Collection


Mario Pissarra, Against the Grain. Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI), Cape Town.

Chris Ledochowski, Cape Flats Details. South African History Online, Cape Town.

Made in Wood: Work from the Western Cape. South Africa National Gallery, Cape Town.


1996: Residency, Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam