Zwelethu Mthethwa

South African, b. 1960

138 followers

Zwelethu Mthethwa

Bio

South African, b. 1960

Followers
138
Biography

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.”

Related Categories
Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 5 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
frieze, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 7 more
Biography

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.”

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 5 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
frieze, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 7 more