With a focus on metaphor, ritual practice and the human body, Modisakeng’s photography, film, installation and performance are a testament to the complex process of grieving historical events and honouring subjective experience. His practice has developed in response to historical mechanisms of violence and legacies of exploitation, inequality, trade and migration. Often using his own body as a medium, Modisakeng engages particularly with South Africa’s colonial and apartheid eras and their relation to the contemporary moment.

Solo exhibitions of his work include LEFA LA NTATE, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2016); Ke Kgomo Ya Moshate, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria (2015); Mohau Modisakeng, Chavonnes Battery Museum, Cape Town (2014); Personal and Political, 21C Museum Hotel, Louisville, US (2014) and Sasol New Signatures Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum (2011). Among his duo and group exhibitions are Ex Africa, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro (2018); Continental Drift: Black / blak art from South Africa and north Australia, Cairns Art Gallery, Australia (2018); In Their Own Form, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2018); South African Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2017); Dis place, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, New York (2015) and Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale, Dakar (2012). His work is part of the collections of the Johannesburg Art Gallery; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town and Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town.

Modisakeng has received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, Grahamstown, South Africa (2016) and won the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, Pretoria (2011).

He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town (2009) and is working on a Master of Fine Arts at the same institution. Born in 1986 in Johannesburg, he lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

SAF participation:
Sharjah Biennial 14

Related Content

Modisakeng, Mohau

Land of Zanj (2019)

Approaching the body as a bearer of collective memory, Mohau Modisakeng’s work invokes historical mechanisms of violence and grapples with the tensions and contradictions of inequality, exploitation, slavery and race.