Eric Mbatha was born in Soweto, 1948. He obtained training in art in 1971 at Evangelical Lutheran Art and Craft Centre at Rorke`s Drift. He had a longer relationship with Rorke’s Drift than most artists, being associated with the centre for most of the 1970s. He was part of the second intake of artists who commenced classes in 1971. The early 1970s saw a greater emphasis on intaglio printmaking at the centre, and this included etching, aquatint, drypoint and even mezzotint. Students were also encouraged to experiment by printing etchings in colour, as opposed to colouring prints by hand. Mbatha’s African queens is seen in the Campbell Smith Collection in a black and white version. The same image is an example of an etching and aquatint that was also printed sensitively in colour and where the colour actually enhanced the completed print. In other versions Mbatha selectively inked various sections of the plate in brown, green and black. In this work one can also discern a similar approach to subject matter adopted by Mbatha’s contemporaries at Rorke’s Drift such as Dan Rakgoathe and Cyprian Shilakoe.


1976: Black South Africa: Contemporary Graphics, Brooklyn Museum, New York.
1976: Visiting artist at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, USA. Collections Iziko South African National Galllery, Cape Town; De Beers Centenary Art Gallery, University of Fort Hare, Alice.

Collections in the Archives