South African artist Nandipha Mntambo works in photography, video, painting, and performance art. However she has gained recognition through her sculptures, molded in cowhide and often suggestive of the human form. The idea of using cowhides came to her in a dream. She trained under a taxidermist to learn how to use chemicals to manipulate the cowhides. Her interest in creating works in cowhide is about the material process rather than the making of any kind of cultural statement. Her use of hides led to a powerful performance piece where she featured herself wearing a partial cowhide and representing herself as both the bull and the bullfighter.
Since the birth of her daughter, she has begun to work more in painting, with one of her themes focusing on the mythology of the snake. She has participated in art fairs like Art Basel, Paris Internationale, the New York Armory Show, and biennales in Europe, Australia, and Senegal.
Her works have been featured in dozens of exhibitions in Africa and Europe and are part of museum collections at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Seitz Museum in Cape Town.