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Article

Aurélie Verdier

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1959, in Johannesburg.

Photomontage artist, sculptor of assemblages, installation artist.

Jane Alexander completed a Master of Arts in Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1988. She has been professor at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, since ...

Article

Carol Magee

Malian photographer. He began his career in 1983 when he began documenting cultural patrimony for the Musée National du Mali, where he was staff photographer. His photographs present both broad and intimate views of life, and he is equally skilled in capturing a place empty of people as he is with close-ups, for example of hands or feet. Suggesting both absence and intimate presence, he evokes a powerful sense of the human condition. His aesthetically stunning works offer views that might otherwise go unnoticed: feet pedaling a bicycle, a faint reflection of a colourful boat on creamy white water. Working in both black and white and colour, he almost never shows the faces of his subjects as he captures them at work or in everyday pursuits, for example in ...

Article

Elaine E. Sullivan

Congolese photographer. Baloji’s photomontages explore themes of memory, architecture, and the environment. Such subjects are frequently treated through the use of archival photographs and watercolours, juxtaposed with contemporary photographs taken by the artist. By foregrounding archival images of labourers and overseers against contemporary urban and rural landscapes, Baloji’s work humanizes the colonial industrial history of his native Katanga province....

Article

Morgan Falconer

Nigerian photographer, film maker, installation artist and writer active in Scotland. He studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1981–85), before completing an MA in Media, Fine Art, Theory and Practice at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1996–8). Bamgboyé’s earliest work was photographic: ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1956, in Kitwe, Zambia.

Painter, sculptor, printmaker, video artist, land artist, watercolourist, curator.

Clive van den Berg came to South Africa in 1966, and trained at the University of Natal. He taught fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Mbarara, 1963). Ugandan photographer, film maker, and installation artist of Indian descent, active in the UK. Bhimji was born in Uganda to Indian parents. The family fled Uganda to England in 1972 due to President Idi Amin’s expulsion of all Asians and Asian-Ugandans from the country along with seizure of their property and businesses as part of his ‘economic war’ on Asia. Bhimji studied art at Goldsmiths College and the Slade School of Art in London and her photographic work primarily consists of close-up, sometimes abstracted glimpses of seemingly abandoned spaces, objects, and landscapes. Bhimji’s work focuses on India and Uganda, which are treated as almost anthropomorphic subjects that appear restless, unfinished, abandoned, or frozen in her photographs, films, and film stills. Bhimji was one of four shortlisted finalists for the Turner Prize in ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in Germany.

Born 29 January 1972, in Johannesburg.

Video artist, photographer, photomontage artist, printmaker, performance artist.

Appropriation Art.

After completing her undergraduate fine art studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) in 1993, Candice Breitz travelled to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship. She completed a Master’s degree at the University of Chicago in ...

Article

Kimberly Juanita Brown

South African documentary photographer. Carter swiftly became famous after one of his images appeared in the New York Times in 1993. That photograph, captioned A Vulture Watches a Starving Child, won him the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1994. He committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning three months later, solidifying his fame in a swirling mélange of international tragedy, racial politics, and personal trauma....

Article

Susan Kart

(b Nairobi, 1958). Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in ...

Article

Carol Magee

Cameroonian photographer and dancer, active in the Netherlands. Essamba moved to Paris at the age of nine and later studied philosophy at the Lyceum. After marrying and moving to Amsterdam, she studied photography at the Fotovaschool. She first exhibited at the Gallerie Art Collective, Amsterdam (...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Kumba, July 17, 1962). Cameroonian photographer, active in the Central African Republic and France. Fosso is internationally known for his self-portrait photographs, described by Stuart Hall as ‘carefully staged, ironic self-performances’. Fosso was born in Cameroon and his mother, of Igbo origin, took him to Nigeria as a young child to stay with his grandfather. As a 13-year-old, during the Nigerian Civil War (...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born May 1968 in Johannesburg.

Conceptual, installation, performance and video artist.

Influenced by his identity as a white Afrikaner growing up during apartheid, Kendell Geers’ artistic production reveals questions of a political, ethical, aesthetic and spiritual nature.

2002, Documenta 11...

Article

Russell Gullette

South African installation, performance, and video artist and photographer. Geers is part of a generation of African artists who emerged during the global expansion of the art world in the 1990s. Born into a white working-class family, he studied fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 29 November 1930, in Randfontein, near Johannesburg.

Photographer. Landscape, buildings, people, socio-political commentary.

David Goldblatt is recognised as one of South Africa’s most important photographers. His early work, indeed his very ambition to become a photographer, was modelled on the image he discovered in the great international picture magazines of the fifties such as ...

Article

Allison Moore

South African photographer. David Goldblatt’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. He grew up as a white and therefore privileged South African, but he also experienced anti-Semitism from white Afrikaners. His interest in photography was piqued in high school by magazines such as Life, Look...

Article

South African, 21st century, male.

Born 29 October 1976, in Johannesburg.

Photojournalist, documentary photographer. Portraiture, landscape, social groups.

Pieter Hugo worked in the film industry until 1999, when he started freelancing as an editorial photographer. After publishing in Colors, an influential photo magazine, Hugo in ...

Article

Sarah Urist Green

Chilean architect, public interventionist, installation artist, photographer and filmmaker, active in the USA since 1982. He first studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, then filmmaking at the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago, concluding in 1981. Throughout his career, Jaar has consistently endeavored to highlight and give visual form to complex ideas and incomprehensible tragedies. In over fifty projects he termed ‘public interventions’, Jaar conducted extensive research around the world to create site-specific works that reflect political and social realities near and far from his sites of exhibition. He created works—in gallery spaces and in public, often engaging spectator involvement—that harness and reappropriate the power of images through various and calculated strategies of representation....

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 28 April 1955, in Johannesburg.

Draughtsman, engraver, graphic designer, film producer, sculptor, theatre and opera designer and producer. Multimedia, animated films.

Land Art.

Although William Kentridge has practised his creativity in many domains and in a wide range of media (animated films, land art, sculpture, printmaking, theatre and opera design and production, installations), it is chiefly his large-scale charcoal drawings in process (drawing for animation) and his unique, short, animated films and their projection that have given him international fame....

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 18 January 1932, in Vrededorp, Johannesburg.

Photojournalist, documentary photographer. Figures, social conflict, traditional customs.

Peter Magubane grew up in Sophiatown, a mixed-race suburb in Johannesburg razed by apartheid authorities in 1955. Employed as a messenger and driver by Drum...