Akeroyd Collection


Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi

b. 1980, New York, U.S; Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi’s works extend beyond painting, where she seamlessly incorporates film, installation, and performance to her practice. Her paintings, however, are characterized by clean, geometric blocks in calming pastel tones, and embody a meditative process using oil on canvas. Nkosi's work considers themes of identity, race, power, memory, and migration, and their relationship to athleticism. On an athletic stage, the body and its relation to power, and the political landscape plays out in performed and performative ways. Gymnasts, predominantly women of colour, inspired by trailblazers like Simone Biles, symbolize strength in such a socio-political arena. With this as a backdrop, Nkosi investigates power structures within politics, architecture, and society, weaving a rich tapestry of visual narratives into the full spectrum of her oeuvre. In works such as Gymnasium and Suspension Nkosi is able to spotlight nuanced moments in history and challenge conventional perspectives. Nkosi also incorporates collaboration into her practice, navigating the field of art as social practice and showcasing her commitment to interdisciplinary art, solidifying her status as a visionary force in the contemporary art scene.

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi's recent solo exhibitions include Stadium, Stevenson, Amsterdam (2023); Equations for a body at rest, Eastside Projects and various locations, Birmingham (2022); Gymnasium, Stevenson, Johannesburg (2020); and The Beginning of Stories (Part 1 of Many), Seedspace Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee (2017). Recent group shows include Thinking Historically in the Present, 15th Sharjah Biennale (2023); CHAMPS, Granville Centre Art Gallery, Cumberland (2023); When We See Us, Zeitz MoCAA, Cape Town (2022); New Formations, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Massachusetts (2022); How to Make a Country, FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême (2021); Mixed Company, Norval Foundation, Cape Town (2021); Lost Lover, Rampa, Porto (2019); NIEPODLEGŁE, Women, Independence and National Discourse, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2018); Being There – Art Afrique, Le Nouvel Atelier, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017) and The Film Will Always Be You, Tate Modern, London (2015). Curatorial projects include The Reading Room, Goethe-Institut, Co-curated with Alphabet Zoo, Johannesburg (2018) and Made in Musina, Collaborative networking project with youth in Musina, Musina (2010).

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