Siwa Mgoboza

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Siwa Mgoboza explores notions of difference and belonging as informed by his personal experiences of
prejudice and assimilation. Growing up abroad and subsequently returning to South Africa as a young
man, Mgoboza was profoundly struck by the difference between his expectation of an egalitarian South
Africa and the stark contrast of it’s reality.
As response to this, Mgoboza has created Africadia – a means to transcend – if only momentarily –
prejudice based on preconceived notions of gender, race, religion, class and nationality. Hybridity is at the
core of the Africadian experiment and Mgoboza imagines a world where absolutes become fluid and open
to debate. A utopic intermingling of notions of an un-spoilt Africa and Arcadia – as referenced in Greek
mythology and the painting of Renaissance artist Nicolas Pousin, Africadia represents an alternative – a
space where in Mgoboza’s words, “we stop talking about the ‘other ’ and start talking to one another.”
In creating the hybrid beings that populate the Africadian dimension, Mgoboza has drawn on his Hlubi
heritage by incorporating the bright and densely patterned Ishweshwe cloth into his photographic,
sculptural and textile work. Traditionally worn by women, Mgoboza references a motif that is immediately
recognizable as “African” but on closer investigation, has truly global roots having arrived in Southern
Africa from India via Dutch trade routes. It became widely embraced when introduced to Southern Africa
by German settlers in the mid 1800s. Isishweshwe is a symbol embedded with the ethos of Africadia – of
cultural interchanges across continents, of indigenization and cultural revitalization.
As visual device Mgoboza offers the viewer Isishweshwe as an accepted African signifier, but it is simultaneously
reconstituted as a question that undermines its very Africaness. By subverting both geographical and gender
specific assumptions, Mgoboza opens up alternative readings of what it is to be an African.

S O L O P R O J E C T S :
– 2018
– Stitched & Drawn – duo solo show, Matter Gallery, Toronto, Canada
– Africadia March 2018– MIA Photo Fair (featured artist), Milan, Italy
– 2017
– Once Upon A Time in Africadia November 2017 – Matter Gallery, Toronto, Canada
– 2016
– Africadia November 2016 – Semaphore Gallery, Neuchatel, Switzerland
– If Found Return to AfricadiaJune 2016 –WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Cape Town
– 2015
– AfricadiaDecember 2015 – Graduate exhibition Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town
GROUP SHOWS:
– 2018
– ICA Live Art Festival (performance festival), University of Cape Town, Cape Town
– Alternate Perspectives – First Canadian Place, Toronto Canada
– Turbine Art Fair – 50ty50ty Studios, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg
– Conversation in Gondwana – ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Art, Durban,
SA
– Milan Design Week – First Cape, Milan, Italy
– Under The Sun – First Canadian Place, Toronto, Cananda
– AfricaAfrica – curated by Maria PiaBernadoniPalazzo Litta, Milan, Italy
– Cape Town Art Fair February 2018 – 50ty50ty Studios, CITCC, Cape Town
– 2017
– Salon Summer Show – AVA Gallery (Association for Visual Artists), Cape Town
– South African Fine Art Print Fair – Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg
– Isishweshwe – VIAD (The Research Centre for Visual Identities in Art and Design), University of
Johannesburg
– FNB Joburg Art Fair – 50ty50ty Studios, Johannesburg
– FNB Joburg Art Fair –AVA Gallery, Johannesburg
– FNB Joburg Art Fair – Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg
– PhotoFocus – AVA Gallery, Cape Town
– Turbine Art Fair – 50ty50ty Studios, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg
– Turbine Art Fair – Ebony Gallery, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg
– One Color At A Time – WAM (Wits Arts Museum), University of Witwatersrand,
Johannesburg
– Young Now – Hazard Gallery, Johannesburg
– Dress Code – Gallery MOMO, Cape Town
– Anomalies –Semaphore Gallery, Neuchatel, Switzerland
– Here Forward – Matter Gallery, Toronto, Canada
– From The Horses Mouth – Ebony gallery, Cape Town
– Art Africa Fair – No Fairy Tail curated by SalimataDiop, Jubilee Hall, Cape Town
– Cape Town Art Fair – 50ty50ty Studios, CITCC, Cape Town
– 2016
– 50ty/50ty Pop Exhibition – Commune1 Gallery, Cape Town
– Women’s Work – Iziko National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
– AKAA (Also Known As Africa) – Performance collaboration with NobukhoNqaba,
ArtMeetsCamera, Paris France
– Nanjing International Arts Festival– Nanjing, China
– Lagos Photo Festival– Lagos, Nigeria
– Modern Africa / Rainbow Nation– NoLab pop-up exhibition, Istanbul, Turkey
– WHATIFTHEWORLD Opening– WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Johannesburg
– NANO –Barnard Gallery, Cape Town
– Barlcay’sL’Atelier – top 100 finalist, Absa Towers, Johannesburg
– Turbine Art Fair – 50ty50ty Studios, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg
– Turbine Art Fair –Emerging Painters curated by Tanya Poole, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg
– Nothing Personal –SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
– Being and Becoming – UNISA Art Gallery by !Kauru Contemporary African Art Project, Pretoria
– PGH Photo Fair –Carnegie Museum of Fine Art, Pennsylvania, USA
– New Monuments –Commune1 Gallery, Cape Town
– BarlcaysL’Atelier Western Cape Regional Finalist – Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Cape Town
– SA Taxi Awards –Lizamore and Associates, Johannesburg
– That Art Fair –Ebony Gallery, Cape Town
– Cape Town Art Fair – AVA Gallery, Cape Town
– Back To The Future– Barnard Gallery, Cape Town

– 2015
– Rose Korber Show– AVA Gallery, Cape Town
– But He Does Not Have Any Clothes On! – Commune1 Gallery, Cape Town
– High/Fine/Not Art –Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town
– Persistence of Memory –Untitled Studios, Cape Town
– FNB Joburg Art Fair – Gallery booth, Johannesburg
– Sasol New Signatures – Top 110 finalist Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria
– Printmaking Residency – The AVA Gallery, Cape Town
– Not From Here – Launch of First Thursday Jo’burg 70 Juta Street, Johannesburg
– Claims of The Land -AVA Gallery, Cape Town
– Forming Impressions -AVA Gallery, Cape Town
– Cape Town Art Fair –AVA Gallery Cape Town

AWARDS :
– Eduard Louis Laden Art Bursary2015 (Michaelis School of Fine Art)
– Michaelis Bursary2012 and 2015 (Michaelis School of Fine Art)
– Cecil Skotnes Award2015for most promising artist (Michaelis School of Fine Art)
– Young + African Visual Artist Of The Year2015 Nestling Awards
– BNL Paribas Award 2018Shorlistedfor photography prize
– Bayeza18 10and5 40 Creatives Under 30
C O L L E C T I O N S :
Mgoboza’s work is in several private and public collections including:the University of Cape Town, The
University of South Africa Permanent Art Collection, the Carnegie Museum in, USA, The Stack Bar, Cape
Town, the Laurete International Universities Collection, USA, Wedge Curatorial Projects in Canada, Pick N
Pay Art Collection, Souh Africa, BONHÔTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Switzerland and WAM (Wits
Arts Museum), South Africa.