Mohau Modisakeng

Translated as ‘divination bones’, Mohau Modisakeng’s Ditaola works form a series of large-scale photographs that depict the artist himself against a dark emerald backdrop. Like an apparition or a vision from a dream, the works are richly symbolic and allegorical, asking the viewer to consider the future that is being created by the choices of the present. Clad in an isidwaba (a pleated leather skirt traditionally worn by married Zulu women), Modisakeng’s figure in Ditaola V posits a precarious future that could be defined either by the flintlock rifle resting on his shoulders or the powdered white dove perched on top of the barrel.

Ditaola XIII, 2014 | Diasec, Inkjet print on Epson UltraSmooth | 200 x 150 cm

Mohau Modisakeng

Available

Ditaola II, 2014 | Diasec, Inkjet print on Epson UltraSmooth | 200 x 150 cm

Mohau Modisakeng

Available

About the artist

In Mohau Modisankeng’s work the personal is political. As a South African, born during a state of emergency, and raised in the transition between the apartheid regime and the so called ‘post-apartheid’ era the subject of political freedom is a preoccupation in his work.

Material, metaphor and the black body are the tools that Mohau Modisakeng uses to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history that is ignored in today’s society, on how we understand our cultural, political, and social roles as human beings in post-colonial Africa and in particular post-apartheid South Africa.

Go to artist page

For inquiries into the works by Mohau Modisakeng, please click on the button below:

Email Inquiry

ABOUT Mohau Modisakeng

Born in 1986 in Soweto, South Africa
Lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Material, metaphor and the black body are the tools that Mohau Modisakeng uses to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history that has been ignored in today’s society, on how we understand our cultural, political, and social roles as human beings in post-colonial Africa and in particular post-apartheid South Africa. Represented through film, large-scale photographic prints, installations and performances, his “work doesn’t start off with an attempt to portray violence but it becomes mesmerising because although we might recognise history as our past, the body is indifferent to social changes, so it remembers.”

Born in Soweto, an epicentre of black urbanity and cosmopolitan culture, the multi-award winning Mohau Modisakeng is a product of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. Mentored by Jane Alexander and predominantly working and training in sculpture, he completed his undergraduate degree in 2009 then completed his Masters degree at the same institution. He was awarded the SASOL New Signatures Award for 2011 and has exhibited at Armory Show, New York (2016); Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2012); Focus 11 and Basel (2011). In 2013 Modisakeng produced an ambitious new video work in association with Samsung as a special project for the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair. His work is included in public collections such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town and SAATCHI Gallery, London as well as significant private collections such as Zeitz MOCAA.

GO TO THE ARTIST PAGE