Meleko Mokgosi’s large-scale paintings and drawings explore the political, emotional, and economic aspects of the legacies of colonialism in the region of southern Africa. Influenced by the formal aspects of film and the tradition of western history painting, Mokgosi articulates the incommensurable aspects of the post-colonial condition through an assemblage of moments, isolating image fragments from their original contexts and replacing them in empty spaces that function like cinematic pauses. These unmoored narrative pulses are local and particular, serving as counterpoints to the metanarratives of nationalism. Mokgosi challenges established histories and overarching cultural narratives by playing with composition, simultaneously deploying and disrupting traditional European notions of representation. Mokgosi offers different epistemological, ideological, and symbolic ways of understanding representation to undercut traditional structures and suggest alternate modes for the creation of knowledge.
Meleko Mokgosi (b.1981, Botswana) earned a BA from Williams College in 2004; completed the Independent Study Programs at Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2006 and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2008; and received his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011. Mokgosi has been an artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2012 and was the inaugural recipient of the Mohn Award, presented in conjunction with the Hammer Museum’s biennial, Made in L.A. in 2012. One-person exhibitions of his work will be presented at the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2018 and have been staged at Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA (2017); The Memorial Art Gallery and Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY (joint presentation in 2017); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2015).