Ben Orkin was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1998. Previously working under his chosen name, NEBNIKRO, multi-disciplinary artist Ben Orkin has begun to establish his practice as a sculptor in South Africa. Resulting from the inversion of Orkin’s own name, NEBNIKRO allowed for the fluidity of identity, categorisation, concept, and form. His practice is a means of moving away from expectations derived from traditional thinking and is a step towards defining his own identity.
Orkin is currently completing his BA Fine Arts at Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, South Africa. His array of media includes photography, bead-work, ceramics, and sculpture. His practice is informed by the human form as it evolves through the experience of both spatial and inter-personal relationships.
In 2018, Orkin won best new talent at the 100% Design fair, South Africa.
Orkin’s series of largescale vessels centralises love shared, given, and taken between lovers. Importantly, he reflects on this love from his position as a queer artist. Orkin’s ceramic objects become emblematic of one body formed between two partners who melt and morph into one another. Within queerness, being attracted to or loving a body that is the same or similar to your own further allows for the proximity of “sameness”. Gender becomes relational and interactive rather than isolating. The “oneness” of these two conjoined parts, and the intimacy of this gesture, is a recurring theme in Orkin’s work. Formally, he plays with symmetry to further explore themes of common purpose; shared sacrifice; dependency; balance; and ultimately falling in and out of sync in all of these aspects of a relationship.