Igshaan Adams

Jan-Henri Booyens

Jared Ginsburg

Bronwyn Katz

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Donna Kukama

Herman Mbamba

Sabelo Mlangeni

Kyle Morland

Cinga Samson

Gerda Scheepers

James Webb

Pedro Wirz

Billie Zangewa

Cinga Samson

The oil paintings of self-taught artist Cinga Samson (b. 1986, Cape Town) address themes of youth, blackness, masculinity and spirituality against the backdrop of post-colonial South Africa. Figurative self-portraits, the works depict the artist posed in front of landscapes that are surreal composites of his own fantasies and the topography of South Africa. The formal composition of the paintings lend them a traditional, almost anachronistic feeling that is interrupted by the artist’s contemporary clothes, intricately patterned fabrics often bearing the insignia of fake fashion brands commonly found at local street markets. The artist’s focus on beauty is also manifested in the plants, flowers and accessories that his subjects hold or are surrounded by. Samson’s works speak to his pride as a young African man, while at the same time a looming darkness permeates the paintings, suggestive of something more ominous.

To date, Samson has held three solo exhibitions at blank projects: Safari Fantasy (2017), Ubugqoboka Magqoboka (2016) and Thirty Pieces of Silver (2015). He has participated in several group shows, including Mapping Black Identities (Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, 2019); Hacer Noche (Centro Cultural Santo Domingo, Oaxaca de Juarez, 2018); open agenda (blank projects, Cape Town, 2018); A Painting Today (Stevenson, Cape Town, 2017); In the night I remember (Stevenson, Johannesburg, 2013); Our Fathers (AVA Gallery, Cape Town, 2012) and Strata at Greatmore Studios in Cape Town (2011), where he completed a residency. In 2017, Samson won the prestigious Tollman Award, and in 2018 he exhibited with Nicholas Hlobo at the Maitland Institute, in a two-person show titled Umthamo.

“Cinga Samson’s self-portraits present a complex image of black male sensuality and youthful pride. While the figure’s clothing and posture celebrate an aspirational vision of material wealth and luxury often surrounded by rich foliage and bathed in lush patterning, the hollow eyes and dark overall palette hint at a more brooding, introspective gaze that rejects superficiality. For me, this tension between the artist’s inner and outer worlds, and the constructedness of both, is at the core of Samson’s work.”

– Gabriel Ritter, Curator and Head of Contemporary Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art


curriculum vitae

1986 Born in Cape Town, South Africa

Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa



2009  Commercial Photography, Stellenbosch Academy

2008  Course in Graphic Design at Learn to Earn in partnership with Stellenbosch University


solo and two-person exhibitions

2019  NaluLwandle, NaliKhaya, blank projects, Cape Town (upcoming)

2018  Umthamo, Maitland Institute, Cape Town (with Nicholas Hlobo)

2017  Safari Fantasy, blank projects, Cape Town

2016  Ubugqoboka Magqoboka, blank projects, Cape Town

2015  Thirty Pieces of Silver, blank projects, Cape Town

2011  Rusting Iron, AVA Gallery, Cape Town


selected group exhibitions

2019 Kubatana, Curated by Kristin Hjellegjerde, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Øvre Eiker

2019  Mapping Black Identities, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis

2018  open agenda, blank projects, Cape Town

2018  Hacer Noche, Centro Cultural Santo Domingo, Oaxaca de Juarez

2018  blankGalerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin

2017  17, blank projects, Cape Town

2017  A Painting Today, Stevenson, Cape Town

2016  Figure, blank projects, Cape Town

2015  Furniture, blank projects, Cape Town

2013  In the night I remember, Stevenson, Cape Town

2012  Our Fathers, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2011  STRATA, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town


residencies + workshops

2015  Popty Bach, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth, Wales

2006 Isibane Creative Arts, Khayelitsha, Cape Town



2017  Tollman Award


publications, essays + reviews

2019  Cinga Samson: Capturing the Beauty and Spiritual Side, of Young African Men, by Katy Donoghue, Whitewall Magazine

2019  INSIDE OUT the inner worlds of oil painter Cinga samson demand the viewer looks beyond the surface of his works and into the self-taught artist’s intensely personal universe, by Binwe Adebayo, House & Leisure

2018  Inchule: a portrait of Cinga Samson, Established Africa

2018  Umthamo: Nicholas Hlobo and Cinga Samson, by Cheri Morris, Visi Magazine

2018  Nicholas Hlobo and Cinga Samson at Maitland Institute, by Sean O’Toole, Artforum International

2017  Cinga Samson: Safari Fantasy, Contemporary And

2017  Of Silver and Savages: Cinga Samson and Andrew Gilbert at blank projects, by Annemi Conradie and Natasha Norman, Art Throb

2017  Tollman Award for the Visual Arts awarded to Cinga Samson, 13th Annual Tollman Award

2017  Cinga Samson paints ‘a young man that is desirable in his own sense’, by Louis McCann, Between 10 and 5