Nukain Mabuza, Outsider Artist
Painting a Boulder in the Mid-1970s
Credit Rene Lion-Cachet, via JFC Clarke
From Roslyn Sulcas, I learned of another outsider artist, Mr. Nukain Mabuza, in her article "Athol Fugard Tells of a Great Outsider Artist" (NYT, April 29, 2015), and she says:
The story of Mr. Mabuza, who committed suicide in 1981 after abruptly leaving his home and painted garden the previous year, is a sad and sketchy one.He was "obsessed in a way . . . different from the obsession of a mainstream artist"? What about Vincent van Gogh? He was obsessive and even cut off his right ear, eventually committing suicide. But he's a mainstream artist. Or?
Born in Mozambique, he moved across the border to South Africa in the 1950s in search of work, eventually settling on a farm called Esperado in 1965. He began to decorate his own dwelling and the stones around him, helped by the farm's owner, who bought him paint. Eventually, the rocks, visible from a passing road, became a tourist attraction, though Mr. Mabuza, who lived alone, never charged people to enter or to take photos.
"The idea of outsider art didn't exist at the time," said J. F. C. Clarke, an artist and photographer whose book "The Painted Stone Garden of Nukain Mabuza" is the only comprehensive written and photographic account of the work, which has never been maintained and is now badly sun-damaged on a derelict site. "He was a humble man, but completely obsessed in a way that is different from the obsession of a mainstream artist. Whatever kind of psychological or psychiatric state it was, he was able to turn nonarable land of no value to anyone into something of immense value to himself."
When Clarke says that no concept of "outsider art" existed then, I assume he meant in the 50s and 60s, for by the 70s there was a book on the very subject.
Anyway, here's a website on Nukain Mabuza.