Kemang Wa Lehulere was born in Cape Town. He has a BA Fine Arts degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (2011). He was a co-founder of Gugulective (2006), an artist-led collective based in Cape Town, and a founding member of the Center for Historical Reenactments in Johannesburg.
Recent institutional solo exhibitions have taken place at MAXXI, Rome (2017); the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle (2017); the Art Institute of Chicago (2016) and Gasworks, London (2015).
Wa Lehulere was the winner of the inaugural Spier Contemporary Award (2007), the MTN New Contemporaries Award (2010); the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts (2012); the 15th Baloise Art Prize (2013), the International Tiberius Art Award (2014) and the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Arts in 2015. He is Deutsche Bank’s ‘Artist of the Year’ 2017.
Wa Lehulere is recognized as one of the most important representatives of a new generation of South African artists who work in different media in order to develop new artistic perspectives and narrative modes, as well as new forms of political action. His drawings and sculptures combine allusions to histories, most pertinently the apartheid era, incorporating repurposed objects, found images, personal memories, and texts.
His work echoes how traces of racism and injustice are blurred and ignored, revealing the gap between individual biography and official historiography. He realizes his performances, videos, installations, and chalk drawings, which are based on extensive research, as a solo artist whilst continuing with collaborative work.
Wa Lehulere’s works often have a focus on black South African history, re-examining and re-imagining the archive of narratives relating to black artists, musicians and authors in an attempt to combat historical erasure.