Thania Petersen is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses photography, performance and installation to address the intricacies and complexities of her identity in contemporary South Africa. Petersen’s reference points sit largely in Islam and in creating awareness about its religious, cultural and traditional practices.
She attempts to unpack contemporary trends of Islamophobia through her analysis of the continuing impact of colonialism, European and American imperialism, and the increasing influence of right-wing ideologies.
Threads in her work include the history of colonialist imperialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as the social and cultural impact of westernised consumer culture. Her work is also informed by her Cape Malay heritage, and the practice of Sufi Islamic religious ceremonies.
Petersen studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art in London. She has held solo exhibitions at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, the AVA, Cape Town and at the Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions both locally and abroad.
Petersen is represented in various public and private collections including World Cultures Museum Rotterdam (Netherlands), Smithsonian Museum (Washington DC), Oscar Niemeyer Museum Curitiba (Brazil), The Durban Art Gallery, The IZIKO South African National Gallery, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), The Kilbourn Collection, The Jochen Zeitz Collection (South Africa), and The Yeojoo City Collection (South Korea).