Andrew Ntshabele was born in the small rural town of Moruleng in the North West province of South Africa. When Andrew was four years old, his family moved to the city of Johannesburg, where he currently resides. Andrew was exposed to the suburbs as a child, where his mother worked for a wealthy family. Andrew had the pleasure of witnessing South Africa’s first democratic votes in 1994 and seeing Johannesburg’s transformation from the early nineties, mid-nineties to the present.
Andrew’s interest in creating artworks that represent the environment and the people he meets in his everyday life lies in his exposure to the inner city of Johannesburg, where he is confronted by, poverty, pollution, and urban decay every day of his life. He has seen the effects that urbanization has had on the city of Johannesburg in relation to its physical change, socio-economic and political change post-apartheid.
In Andrew’s early years, he showed exceptional talent, leading him to complete a BTech degree majoring in painting from the University of Johannesburg in 2013. During these early years of being a professional artist, Andrews received the painting merit award at the Ekurhuleni 2012 Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards, as well as exhibited at the Turbine art fair 2015 as part of the emerging artist’s
Ntshabele’s earlier works highlighted poverty and decay, the harshness of the struggle to survive in the inner city of Johannesburg. His early works often highlighted people in a transitory state carrying luggage. Luggage became symbolic representing financial emotional and spiritual burdens that become part of a familiar identity in a poorer socio-economic group. As Andrew has matured as an artist, he departs from working with pain and suffering as a universal emotion and moves toward expressing lighter happier emotions, which can be difficult to execute as a serious artist. Andrew has successfully created a number of powerful series of works, that speaks about family, hope, and joy while documenting the past through his backgrounds, made from newspapers, documents, and music score. He is becoming well known for his images of beautifully executed dancing children, dancing over the news of the day, particularly during the turmoil of the pandemic. These works are universal in appeal, as they highlight the contrasting emotions of joyfulness in the beautifully painted children, against the stories of despair in the pandemic. This juxtaposition of powerful emotions is moving.
Andrew’s works have continued to steadily grow in international popularity, as his approach to creating preserves the past through the use of newspapers and documents and combined with images of the present, and is about authentic storytelling.
Andrew has successfully taken part in both international and national art exhibitions.