Selected works by Mohau Modisakeng

Mohau Modisakeng


C-print on watercolour paper

Each panel: 170 x 108 cm

The young Soweto-born Mohau Modisakeng is all for the coming together of the peoples of post-colonial Africa, but feels that this can’t be done at the expense of history. There are scores to settle, and better that they are settled in symbolic combat than blood. For the most part Modisakeng works as a sculptor, with recourse to performance, video and photography as the concept requires. In the triptych Untitled, the artist himself embodies that need for confrontation to resolve differences. His apron speaks for the hard, industrial labour that was the fate of his ancestors; the leopard print signifies high status among his fellow men (male members of Zulu royalty wore leopard skins to remind their enemies that this fierce animal hides, waits and attacks at the right moment); the bowler hat stands for the patriarchal white man, the ‘civilized’ oppressor. The body language is clear: this is a fighter come to seek justice. He emerges from a dark past, striding forward into the light, clothed in history.

Text by William A Ewing

Mohau Modisakeng's Biography

Mohau Modisakeng
Born in 1986, Johannesburg, South Africa
Lives and works in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa


Ibutho, Side Gallery, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town

Ugufa Unezindaba, Graduate exhibiton, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town


Out Of Focus: Photography, Saatchi Gallery, London

Implemented Environments, Brundyn + Gonsalves, Cape Town
Business Day, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg
Focus 11, Basel

A RE FANON, with Lerato Bereng, Blank Projects, Cape Town
This is Our Time, Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg
Greatest Hits, AVA, Cape Town
MTN, New Contemporaries, Durban
Spier Contemporary, Cape Town

Spier Contemporary, Cape Town

Spier Contemporary, Cape Town