Traditional and contemporary wooden sculptures and and music instruments
Thomas Kubayi is a very talented and popular wood carver, drum builder, musician and story teller. He has his own Vutsila art centre in Tshivhuyuni village, near Elim, Northern Limpopo. Here he built up his own rural gallery where he teaches young artists to carve and make traditional music and instruments. He has an exceptional gift for rythm and music and frequently pulls in young people to play traditional music for fun whilst learning.
An exceptional artist and person
Woodcarving is inherited in Thomas’ family; both his grandfather and father were woodcarvers making functional art. He and the late and famous Jackson Hlungwani and John Baloyi were friends who visited each other, worked together and shared their knowledge. In his artworks, Thomas expresses his dreams and visions of day to day life. He likes to make big sculptures. His 3 meter high Mandela sculpture is an expression of the great man’s strong yet gentle integrity. He purposely also makes smaller carvings so foreign tourists can take it with in their luggage. Thomas’ work is found in many private and public collections all over the world. He also features in Elbé Coetsee’s recently published book CraftArt in South Africa, Creative intersections, a tribute to exceptional artists, collectors and retailers who have played a pivotal role in the enhancement of craft art in South Africa.
Five people needed to load this drum for a while at Madi a Thavha mountain lodge
Thyomas features in Elbe Coetsee’s book CraftArt in SA
Thomas next to his Mandela sculpture in his rural gallery
Thomas’s work in private collection
Thomas loves music in all he does
His workshop and art gallery in rural Venda is a popular stop
Thomas’ workshop and art gallery in Tshivhuyuni Village are open for visitors and he is available to organise music performances and woodcarving and music workshops He is a patient, teacher and guests love to do woodcarving workshops in the relaxed, rural atmosphere of the Vutshila art centre with its sweeping views of the villages on the foothills of the Soutpansberg. Thomas knows the ‘behaviour’ of indigenous wood inside out and guides his students to see the ‘figures emerging form the wood’ as well. There is always time to make a little music inbetween carving workshops too.
Guests making art at rural worskhop of Thomas Kubayi
Thomas’Vutshila art Centre
Thomas playing his favourite marimba an exceptional talent for music too
Thomas demonstrate a tradtional music instrument
Woman coming out of the wood to losha, Thomas Kubayi
Thomas Kubayi, prolific artist and musician
A community leader
As a sculptor, he strongly believes he has to be a role model in his community. Therefore, he’s also involved in different initiatives in the village. He teaches young people to carve wood and supports a women’s cooperative in mat weaving and preparation of traditional food. Ever since his youth he’s trying his very best to keep up the cultural village life.
On drum’s and marimbas that Thomas and his students made
Local Tsonga woman on traditional music instrument
Attending a workshop at Thomas’ Vutsila art centre
Local crafters work at Thomas’ art centre
Music instrument making worskshop of Thomas Kubay
Thomas at his rural workshop
Tel +27(0)72 180 2398
PO Box 726