Zwelethu Mthethwa
South African, born 1960
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
Galería Oliva Arauna at Zona MACO 2014,
Galería Oliva Arauna
Galería Oliva Arauna at ARCO Madrid 2014,
Galería Oliva Arauna
Galería Oliva Arauna

Harnessing beauty as a strategy to draw attention to his socially engaged work, Zwelethu Mthethwa produces large-scale, gorgeous photographs of the marginalized citizens of his native South Africa. His color-saturated portraits capture subjects like migrant workers and Christian missionaries, whose serious faces seem both revealing and impenetrable. The history and politics of post-apartheid South Africa underpin Mthethwa’s work, which he makes in the service of his subjects and with an aim to foster a more nuanced understanding of his country. As he describes: “I made it my conviction to go out there through my art and try to paint a different picture of the other. […] So I’ve taken it upon me to change or provoke and ask questions that will tell a different story about Africa. About me, because essentially this is about me.”