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 Cockatoo Island in Sydney, Australia. In 2019 Amira notably presented DITAOLA: DIVINING BONES, curated by Mariella Franzoni as part of the Barcelona LOOP Festival City Screen Program at L&B Gallery in Barcelona, Spain, Abalozi Bayeza / Os Deuses Estão Chegando, at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa followed by BAYEZA naMAYEZA / De Kommer Med Medicin 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, Present Passing at OSAGE Gallery in Hong Kong, China; Wall Eyes, curated by Ilaria Bernadi, at Keyes Art Mile in Johannesburg, South Africa and Ngoma, at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) 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.

In 2020 Amira’s work will be included in SMAC Gallery’s group presentation at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. 

In 2019 Amira presented BAYEZA naMAYEZA at the Skövde Konsthall and Konstmuséum in Skövde, Sweden and DITAOLA: DIVINING BONES, curated by Mariella Franzoni, as part of the Barcelona LOOP Festival City Screen Program at L&B Gallery in Barcelona, Spain. Group exhibitions include: KUBATANA, at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium in Vestfossen, Norway; Present Passing at OSAGE Gallery in Hong Kong, China; and Wall Eyes, curated by Ilaria Bernadi, at Keyes Art Mile, Johannesburg, South Africa, presented by the Italian Cultural Institute.

Amira was announced to participate in 22 Biennale of Sydney (2020), titled NIRIN, in Sydney, Australia (14.03.2020 – 08.06.2020).

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