Embarking on a courageous journey to the United States, Vumelani Sibeko has spent his first two months living on the streets of New York City as part of his latest performance piece titled “Get On the Bridge.” With each day comes a new challenge to his ability to continue to create and express his feelings through art. In creating his art, he makes use of found objects gathered along his way. For Sibeko, his very existence and survival have further inspired new and fascinating works of art.
While attending a recent celebration for South African independence at Bed-Stuy’s Kalahari Gallery, Sibeko serendipitously met gallery owner Angela Weusi, widow of Baba Jitu Weusi. Their chance encounter began with Angela Weusi’s admiration of a beautiful, handcrafted coconut bag designed by Sibeko. As fate would have it, Sibeko left that meeting with no bag. Instead, he had an opportunity to exhibit his first New York City showing of “Get On the Bridge”.
With two weeks to prepare for his show, he was commissioned to create a very special piece commemorating the late teacher, activist, father and husband, Jitu Weusi, with the request to use special artifacts, including articles of clothing and the hair of Angela Weusi herself. Sibeko worked day and night creating what would become the centerpiece for his opening. The moment of unveiling was emotionally charged and special for all in attendance.