Senzeni Marasela

Born in 1977 in Thokoza, Senzeni Marasela lives and works in Soweto, South Africa.

Senzeni Marasela is a cross-disciplinary artist who explores photography, video, prints, and mixed-medium installations involving textiles and embroidery. Her work deals with history, memory, and personal narrative, emphasising historical gaps and overlooked figures. She graduated from the University of Witswatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1998, and shortly thereafter completed a residency at the South African National Gallery, culminating in her work for the Gallery’s Fresh exhibition series. Marasela’s work has been widely exhibited in South Africa, Europe, and the United States. Her work features in prominent local and international collections, including the Newark Museum, Smithsonian Institution and MoMA, New York, as well as some private collections such as the Leridon collection in Paris, the Harry David collection in Athens and the Sindika Dokolo collection in Angola. She was part of the 56th Johannesburg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015).

Solo exhibitions include: Waiting for Gebane: Dolly Parton (Toffee Gallery, Darling: 2018); Sarah, Theodorah and Senzeni in Johannesburg (Art on Paper, Johannesburg: 2011); Beyond Booty: Covering Sarah Baartman and other Tales (Axis Gallery, New York: 2010); “Oh my God you look like shit. Who let you out of the house looking like that?” (Solo performance, Sternersen Museum, Oslo: 2009); JONGA – Look at Me! A Museum of Women, Dolls and Memories (Devon Arts Residency: 2009); Three Women, Three Voices (Johannesburg Art Gallery: 2004); and Fresh (South African National Gallery, Cape Town: 2000).

Group exhibitions include: Black Womanwood: Icons, Images and Ideologies of the African Body,  (Hood Museum of Art, New Hampshire and the San  Diego Museum of Art: 2008),  Impressions from South Africa: Printed Art/1965 to Now (MoMA, New York: 2011)  DARKROOM: South African Photography and New Media 1950 – Present (Virginia Museum of Fine Art and the Birmingham Museum of Art: 2013). More recently, she was part of  I am”¦ Contemporary Women Artists of Africa (Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC: 2019), and  Made Visible: Contemporary South African Fashion and  Identity (Museum of Fine Arts in Boston: 2019)

Upcoming exhibitions include, The Power of my hands, (Museum of Modern Art, Paris: 2021) and  Witness: Afro Perspectives from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection.  

Marasela’s practice has been contextualized in the following publications; Jonga: Look at Me: Museum of Women, Dolls and Memories (2009), Unbounded (2009), South African Art Now (2009), Darkroom (2009), 10 Years, 100 Artists (2005), History After Apartheid (2003), FRESH (2001).

Marsela’s exhibition, Waiting for Gebane is on view at Zeitz MOCAA from 18 December 2020 to 2 May 2021.