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. Amira’s practice includes ‘Appearance’, photography, video and sculpture presented as what THEY term ‘Constellations’. Amira has 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.

In 2020, Amira will be included in NIRIN, the 22nd Sydney Biennale curated by Brook Andrews, set to take place at the Art Gallery of NSW; Artspace; Campbelltown Arts Centre; Cockatoo Island; the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the National Art School in Sydney, Australia. In late 2019 Amira will be screening THEIR three films for THEIR most recent ‘Constellation’ DITAOLA: DIVINING BONES, curated by Mariella Franzoni as part of the Barcelona LOOP Festival City Screen Program at L&B Gallery in Barcelona, Spain. Earlier this year Amira presented THEIR most recent body of work Abalozi Bayeza / Os Deuses Estão Chegando, at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa followed by BAYEZA naMAYEZA / De Kommer Med Medicin, THEIR ‘Constellation’ at the Skövde Konsthall & Konstmeséum in Skövde, Sweden. THEY have presented screenings and talks at various occasions including: the Goethe Institut in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, and the Göteborg Film Festival, both in 2018 and Part of the Labyrinth – art and history writing at the Gothenburg City Library in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2019. 

Notable group exhibitions 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 … at the 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.

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’s work has also 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’s most recent ‘Constellation’, Ditaola: Divining Bones’, curated by Mariella Franzoni,  brings together three projects by Lhola Amira (‘Looking for Ghana & The Red Suitcase; LAGOM: Breaking Bread with the Self-Righteous’; ‘SINKING: Xa Siqamla Unxubo’). The films will be screening as part of the Barcelona LOOP Festival City Screen Program at L&B Gallery in Barcelona, Spain from 14 – 30 November 2019.

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.

ArtForum | Biennale of Sydney Names Artists Participating in its 2020 Edition | 12 September 2019 – PDF

Blouin ArtInfo | Group exhibition “Kubatana” at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Oslo | 20 May 2019 – PDF

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