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, and currently lives and works in Cape Town. Their practice includes ‘Appearance’, photography, video and sculpture. Amira exists as an ancestral presence, cohabiting with the South African curator, Khanyisile Mbongwa.

In 2020, Amira will be included in NIRIN, the 22nd Sydney Biennale curated by Brook Andrews. Further group exhibitions of note include: KUBATANA, at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium in Vestfossen, Norway and Present Passing at OSAGE Gallery in Hong Kong, China, both in 2019; The Powers of Emotions symposium at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; the 33rd São Paulo Biennial, Affective Affinities, curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro and Forward? Forward ! Forward …, Stellenbosch University Museum in Stellenbosch, South Africa, all in 2018; African Voices: Confronting Frontiers of Reality at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare, Zimbabwe and 29º06’S 26º13’E, [Appearance] as part of Museum Night, curated by Jay Pather, at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa, both in 2017.

The artist refers to the solo presentation of her work as a ‘constellation’. In 2019, Amira will be presenting Abalozi Bayeza / Os Deuses Estão Chegando, at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa; followed by BAYEZA naMAYEZA / De Kommer Med Medicin, her constellation for the Skövde Konsthall & Konstmeséum in Skövde, Sweden. Further selected constellations and Appearances include: SINKING: Xa Sinqamla Unxubo at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town in 2018; LAGOM: Breaking Bread with The Self-Righteous at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town and Looking for Ghana & The Red Suitcase at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, both in 2017. While filming for Looking for Ghana & The Red Suitcase in 2016, Amira made Appearances at Studio Accra, as well as Brazil House in Jamestown, Ghana. Amira has presented screenings and talks at various occasions, most recently at the Goethe Institut in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil and the Göteborg Film Festival, both in 2018, with an upcoming screening and panel discussion at the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art in 2019. Amira has also been awarded a number of residencies, namely the AiRS (Artist in Residence Skövde Art Museum) residency in Skövde, Sweden in 2017; the Jiwar Creation and Society residency in Barcelona, Spain in 2015; and at Vasl Artists’ Collective in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2010.

Amira’s work has been included in art fair presentations at Artissima, the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (including a solo booth at the 2018 SOLO section, curated by Nontobeko Ntombela), LOOP Barcelona, and the FNB Joburg Art Fair.

Selected collections include: The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), Cape Town, South Africa; Skövde Konstshall, Skövde Sweden; the Tiroche DeLeon Collection, Gibraltar; and the Iziko South African National Gallery, 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 looking forward to an upcoming panel discussion as well as a screening of her film at the Gothenburg City Library in Gothenburg, Sweden on 12th September 2019.

Amira is currently working towards a solo presentation titled BAYEZA naMAYEZA / De Kommer Med Medicin at the Skövde Konsthall & Konstmeséum in Skövde, in Sweden later this year.


Amira currently has her latest ‘constellation’ Abalozi Bayeza / Os Deuses Estão Chegando on show at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. The ‘constellation’ will run from 20th July to 31 August 2019.

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 was recently 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”.

[upcoming] NIRIN | 22nd Biennale of Sydney | Art Gallery of NSW; Artspace; Campbelltown Arts Centre;  Cockatoo Island;  Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; The National Art School |  Sydney, Australia | 2020

[upcoming] Wall Eyes | Keyes Art Miles | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2019

[upcoming] I AM… | North-West University (NWU) Gallery | Potchefstroom, South Africa | 2019

[upcoming] Panel discussion & Screening, Gothenburg City Library in Gothenburg, Sweden.

KUBATANA | Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium | Vestfossen, Norway | 2019

Present Passing | OSAGE Gallery | Hong Kong, China | 2019

Investec Cape Town Art Fair | Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) | Cape Town, South Africa | 2019

Wish You Were Here | SMAC Gallery | Cape Town, South Africa | 2018

Affective Affinities | 33rd São Paulo Biennial |  São Paulo, Brazil | 2018

LAGOM: Breaking Bread with The Self-Righteous [screening] |Götenborg Film Festival | Gothenburg, Sweden | 2018

What is South Africa, even? | WORLDART Gallery | Cape Town, South Africa | 2018

FNB Joburg Art Fair | Sandton Convention Centre | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2018

ARTISSIMA | OVAL Lingotto Fiere | Turin, Italy | 2017

29º06’S 26º13’E, [Appearance] | Museum Night | Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAA) | Cape Town, South Africa | 2017

FNB Joburg Art Fair | Sandton Convention Centre | Johannesburg, South Africa | 2017

African Voices: Confronting Frontiers of Reality | National Gallery of Zimbabwe | Harare, Zimbabwe | 2017

 Looking for Ghana & The Red Suitcase, [Screening] | Chale Wote Festival | Accra, Ghana | 2017

Cape Town Art Fair | Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) | Cape Town, South Africa | 2017

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