Lhola Amira

b. 1984, Gugulethu, South Africa.

Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Lhola Amira was born in 1984 in Gugulethu, South Africa; she currently lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2017, Amira was awarded the AiRS (Artist in Residence Skövde Art Museum) residency in Skövde. Earlier residencies include participation at the Jiwar Creation and Society in Barcelona, Spain in 2015, and at Vasl Artists’ Collective in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2010.

Amira has made numerous solo appearances both locally and abroad. In 2017, the artist presented her solo show at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch titled, Looking for Ghana & The Red Suitcase as well as LAGOM: Breaking Bread with The Self-Righteous at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town. In addition, Lhola Amira made three appearances in Bloemfontein, South Africa, as part of her most recent project. Her short-film by the same title was selected for screening in Gothenburg; Sweden at the Götenborg Film Festival in early 2018. Lhola Amira was selected to present within the SOLO Section, curated by Nontobeko Ntombela, at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair in 2018, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2018, Amira’s solo exhibition, ‘SINKING: Xa Sinqamla Unxubo‘, was hosted at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa. An Appearance by Amira also took place in 2018 in The Powers of Emotions exhibition as part of a symposium at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; and Amira was included in the 33rd São Paulo Biennial, Affective Affinities, curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro. Amira was invited by Wura-Natasha Ogunji to present an ongoing appearance, which forms part of one of seven artist-curated projects proposed for the Biennale. Amira also presented a talk alongside the screening of her films at the Goethe Institut in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

Most recently, Amira’s work was exhibited with SMAC Gallery at the 2019 Investec Cape Town Art Fair, in Cape Town, South Africa. Amira is also looking forward to a solo presentation at the Skövde Konsthall & Konstmeséum in Skövde, Sweden later this year, as well as a solo exhibition at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. Amira’s work will also be exhibited as part of Present Passing at OSAGE Gallery in Hong Kong, China.

Lhola Amira’s work forms part of numerous public and private collections such as: The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), in Cape Town, South Africa; Skövde Konstshall, in Skövde Sweden; the Tiroche DeLeon Collection, Gibraltar; and the Iziko South African National Gallery, in Cape Town, South Africa.


Amira will be one of the 33 artists, creatives and collectives who will participate in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), titled NIRIN. The exhibition will run from Saturday, 14 March to Monday, 8 June 2020 at the Art Gallery of NSW, Artspace, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Cockatoo Island, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the National Art School in Sydney.

Amira is currently working towards a solo presentation at the Skövde Konsthall & Konstmeséum in Skövde, Sweden, as well as a solo presentation at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa – both later this year.


Amira’s work is included in the exhibition KUBATANA, curated by Kristin Hjellegjerde. The exhibition feature’s recent works by 34 leading practitioners from 19 countries across Africa and the African diaspora and will occupy the entire Museum, making it one of the most expansive exhibitions of African art in Scandinavia to date. The exhibition will run from May 4th to September 22, 2019.

Amira is currently included in Present Passing: South by Southeast, an upcoming exhibition presented by Osage Art Foundation,  curated by Patrick D. Flores and Natasha Becker. “South by Southeast is a part of Osage Art Foundation’s “Regional Perspectives” platform that puts the production of art in Asia into a critical perspective in relation to other geographies; and Present Passing is an iteration of the South by Southeast framework that seeks to expand and deepen the imagination of Southeast Asia”.

Harper’s Bazaar Art Brasil | Artista Explora Presença do Corpo Negro na Bienal | September 2018 – PDF

Faye Kabali-Kagwa | Mail & Guardian | SS Mendi ritual breaks new ground | 19 January 2018 – PDF

Valeria Geselev | Business Day | Decolonising Africa – in high heels | 12 May 2017 – PDF

Carina Claasens | Culture Trip | Meet Lhola Amira, the Artist Who’s Rediscovering Post-Colonial Africa | 23 March 2017 – PDF

Thuli Gamedze | Elle Magazine | Lhola Amira. The Performance Artist Who Refuses to Perform | 8 March 2017 – PDF