Igshaan Adams

Jan-Henri Booyens

Jared Ginsburg

Bronwyn Katz

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Donna Kukama

Herman Mbamba

Sabelo Mlangeni

Kyle Morland

Cinga Samson

Gerda Scheepers

Lerato Shadi

James Webb

Pedro Wirz

Billie Zangewa

Donna Kukama

Donna Kukama is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is informed by performance-based research processes. Through performance, video, sound, texts, and non-monuments, her work questions the way in which histories are narrated, as well as how value systems are constructed, often resisting established “ways of doing”.

Kukama has exhibited and presented performances at several notable institutions and museums, including the Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, Kunsthal KaDe in Amersfoort; Padiglione de’Arte Contemporanea Milano in Milan; South African National Gallery in Cape Town; Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp; Tate Modern in London; nGbK in Berlin; and the New Museum in New York. She has participated in the 57th Belgrade Biennale; 12th Lyon Biennale; the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; 32nd Bienal de São Paulo and 8th Berlin Biennale. She was recently one of the small group of artists invited to launch the 10th Berlin Biennale‘s public program, and was also a part of the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. She is the 2014 recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Performance Art and was nominated for the MTN New Contemporaries Award (2010) and the Visible Award (as NON NON Collective) in 2011. She currently teaches at the Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg, South Africa and plans to complete her practice-led research PhD at the same institution. She is also a member of the artist collective Center for Historical Reenactments. Kukama lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.


curriculum vitae

1981 Born in Mafikeng, South Africa


2005-2008 Postgraduate Degree in MAPS (Masters of Arts in the Public Sphere), Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre, Switzerland

2003-2004 B-Tech (Fine Arts), Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

1999-2004 National Diploma in Fine Arts, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa


selected exhibitions

2019  the head the hand, blank projects, Cape Town

2019 mooood, blank projects, Cape Town (SOLO)

2019 Highly Personal: South African Artists and Their HandPrint Portraits, Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago

2019 Shifts in Time, curated by McNamara Art Projects, Over the Influence Gallery, Los Angeles

2019 Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance: Act Two, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea

2019 CONDO London, hosted by Corvi-Mora and greengrassi, London

2018 open agenda, blank projects, Cape Town

2018 Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham

2018 The Marvellous Cacophony, 57th October Salon, Belgrade

2018 We the Not-Not People!, Maitland Institute, Cape Town

2018 blank, Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin

2018 Print Promises, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2018 The Collection for the Poor Collector, SPERLING, Munich

2018 Tell Freedom: 15 South African Artists, Kunsthal KaDe, Amersfoort

2017 Inauguration of Kohta: Juha Pekka Matias Laakkonen and Donna Kukama, Kohta, Helsinki

2017 Africa, Raccontare un Mondo, Padiglione de’Arte Contemporanea Milano, Milan

2017  Urban Cadence: Street Scenes from Lagos and Johannesburg, Gund Gallery, Ohio

2016 Jerusalem Show VIII: Before and After Origins, Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem

2016 Incerteza Viva (Live Uncertainty), 32nd Sao Paulo Bienal

2016 CHR Museum, Nothing Gets Organised, Johannesburg (CHR)

2016 Nothing is Impossible, CCA Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe; Cult Gallery, San Francisco; and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles

2016 Figure, blank projects, Cape Town

2015 About a work #7, Galleria Zero, Milan

2015 The Welfare State, MhKA, Antwerp

2015 The Film Will Always Be You: Points and Counterpoints, screenings at Tate Modern, London

2015 How to Gather?… 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow

2015 Surround Audience, New Museum Generational Triennial, New York

2014 Biennale of Moving Images 2014, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva

2014 it’s all video, video, video, a screening of selected videos from the Emile Stipp Collection, curated by Rory Bester, THE BIOSCOPE, Johannesburg

2014 FAST FORWARD, a project curated by Olivia Anani, In partnership with Afrikadaa and Zajia Lab, Zajia Lab, Beijing

2014 Don’t You Know Who I Am?: Kunst na Identiteitspolitiek / Art after Identity Politics / L’Art après la Politique de l’Identité, curated by Anders Kreuger and Nav Haq, M HKA, Antwerp

2014 Digging Our Own Graves 101, 8th Berlin Biennale, Germany (CHR)

2014 MINE, film screenings accompanying The Divine Comedy, Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt

2014 Public Intimacy: Art and other Ordinary Acts in South Africa, SFMOMA, San Francisco

2013 This is the thing, blank projects, Cape Town

2013 By Night Visual Arts Festival, Courant d’Arts, St Denis

2013 blank projects in Johannesburg, Ithuba Arts Gallery, Johannesburg

2013 Imaginary Fact, South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, Venice

2013 Meanwhile … Suddenly and Then, 12th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon

2013 Xenoglossia, the Exhibition, Goethe on Main, Johannesburg (CHR)

2013 My Joburg, Maison Rouge, Paris

2013 After-After Tears, New Museum, New York

2013 23 Kilograms, Galerie West

2012 When Attitudes Become Form, blank projects, Cape Town

2012 The Visible Screening Program: “Sharing Transformation”, Kunsthaus Graz

2012 Machine Worries, Machine Hearts, blank projects, Cape Town

2012 Where Dreams Cross, Art:Screen Festival, Orebro

2012 Joburg, DONT/PANIC, Center For Historical Reenactments, Johannesburg

2012 Exuberance Project Exhibition (representing CHR), Mandela Rhodes Gallery, Cape Town

2012 EXTRASPECTIVE, Parking Gallery, Johannesburg

2012 Dis/Play, Goethe On Main, Johannesburg

2012 MINE, UJ Gallery, Johannesburg

2012 UNACCEPTABLE, Blank Projects, Cape Town (SOLO)

2012 MINE, DUCTAC, Dubai

2012 DON’T/PANIC at the Durban Art Gallery, coinciding with the UN Global Summit in Climate Change (COP17), Durban

2011 Xenoglossia (Representing CHR), Biennale de Lyon

2011 CONNECTIONS, Kunsthalle Luzern

2011 MAP South Africa, University of Johannesburg Art Gallery

2011 Becoming-Animal, Goethe-Institut Gallery, Johannesburg

2011 Mine: A selection of films by South African artists, Iwalewa-House, Afrikazentrum der Universität Bayreuth

2010 Featuring Simplicity as an Irrational Fear, Michael Stevenson Project Space, Cape Town

2010 Contemporary Artists from South Africa, Gallery 3,14, Bergen

2010 US (part of the exhibition 1910-2010: FROM PIERNEEF TO GUGULECTIVE), South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2010 Hearts & Minds (Part of the Third Biennial Art History Symposium, Africa on My Mind: Contemporary Art, Home and Abroad), Hall Street Gallery, Savannah

2010 Arte InVisible, ARCO Fair, Madrid

2009 Dada South? Exploring Dada legacies in South African Art 1960 to the present, South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2009 6 Stories/6 Hours/6 Artists, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

2009 US, Johannesburg Art Gallery & Goodman Project Space, Johannesburg

2009 On Screen: Global Intimacy, Krannert Art Museum, Illinois

2009 Here and Now, Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg

2009 Take Me to the River, DEPO, Istanbul Multipistes Parties, Meneer de Wit, Amsterdam

2008 Pool of possibilities, Mapping Currents for the Third Ghuangzhou Trienniale (online http://www.aaa.org.hk/3gzt/)

2008 I will never W**k Alone in Chile, Traffixxx gallery, Santiago

2008 Gast/Spiel, a fringe project during ArtBasel, held at Hohstraum 11, Basel

2008 Archives Projects, L’arsenic, Lausanne Femme et l’Autorité, Villa Dutoit, Geneva

2008 Scratching The Surface VOL 1, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2007 Positive:Pulse, Sun City, Rustenburg

2007 Devénir-Animal, L’Arsenic, Lausanne

2007 M.A.P.S en Cuenca, Universidad De Castilla-La Mancha (Facultad De Bellas Artes), Cuenca

2006 Age of Hope, United Nations Gallery, Geneva

2006 Visions d’Artistes, Dak’Art off Biennalé, Yassine Art Center, Dakar

2005 Take Me to the River, The Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane

2004 Young Vision: featuring 11 Most Promising South African Artists, L’Alliance Français, Johannesburg

2004 Negotiate, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

2004 Geslag, Aardklop Arts Festival, Potchefstroom

2004 Real Presence; Generation 4, Yugoslavian Museum of National History, Belgrade


selected performances

2018 The Marvellous Cacophony, 57th October Salon, Belgrade

2018 We the Not-Not People! -Things done, not told. Inscribed, not written. ICA Live Art Festival, Maitland Institute, Cape Town

2017 Chapter Q: Dem Short-Short Falls, Bijlmerramp Monument, Amsterdam

2017 Introduction Here…WE THE PEOPLE!, Various locations, South Africa (ongoing)

2017 The Garden of Excuses, Frieze London, Regent’s Park, London

2017 Chapter P: The Not-Not Educational Spirits, E.O.T.O. Library, Berlin

2017 Chapter U: Me, looking at You, Looking at Me, Looking at You, PAC Museum, Milan

2017 Chapter Y: Is Survival Not Archival?, South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2017 Chapter L: When Rain Clouds Gathered…, Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town

2016 Chapter X: A mouthful of Hot Air (When we re-blackened our faces and turned), New Gate, Jerusalem

2016 Chapter F: The Free School for Art and all ‘Fings Necessary (Until Fees Fall), South Africa (ongoing)

2016 Chapter B: I, Too, Sao Paulo Biennale Pavilion, Sao Paulo

2016 Chapter A: The Anatomy of History, Museo Afro Brasil, Sao Paulo

2016 Chapter C: The Genealogy of Pain, Cemitério da Consolaçao, Sao Paulo

2016 TO BE ANNOUNCED…, Nothing Gets Organised, Johannesburg

2015 TO BE ANNOUNCED, nGbK, Berlin

2015 The Cemetery for Bad Behaviour, VDNKh, Moscow

2015 The Monument of Apologies, Matonge, Brussels

2015 What we caught we threw away, what we didn’t catch we kept, Antwerp

2014 The Museum of Non-Permanence, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

2013 The Very Last Announcement, South African Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice

2013 The Air-Space Urgency (Expo), Frac Des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou

2013 A Catalogue Without Pages (Vol1 & Vol 2), La Museé d’art Contemporaine & Sucriére, Biennale de Lyon

2013 The Air-State Urgency (Shop), L’Agence Creative, Bordeaux

2013 The Air-State Urgency (Launch), St Denis, Reunion Island

2013 Conceptual Recitals, Lausanne

2013 If the past were to be postponed to the future, would this moment be a memory?, New Museum, New York

2013 I Had A Dream, FundBuro, Mirages Festival, Lyon 2013 Chop-Shop, Mirages Festival, Lyon

2013 The Fyootchar Kourt of Traded Justices, The Hague

2012 Trade Re-Routed, in collaboration with Anthea Moys, Joburg Art Fair & Joburg Fringe, Johannesburg

2012 Fr(a)gile, Alf Khumalo Museum, Soweto, Johannesburg (CHR)

2012 What Happened in 2081? Center For Historical Reenactments, Johannesburg

2012 To U-turn or to One-Way?, part of Shoe-Shop project, Johannesburg

2012 Black and White flags, going up-and-down, Not No Place, Goethe Project Space, Johannesburg

2012 The Chop-Shoppers, Jeppe str, Johannesburg

2012 The Investment Bank of Elsewhere, Center For Historical Reenactments, Johannesburg, South Africa

2012 Cafe Exchange, Substation, WITS University, Johannesburg

2011 1998-2008 (and I), in collaboration with Katrin Grögel, Archiv Performativ: Ein Modell, AusstellungsraumKlingental, Basel

2011 Room 207, Hillbrow, Johannesburg

2011 Becoming-Animal, in collaboration with Motel Mari, Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg

2011 It’s not business, It’s strictly personal, BLICK-WECHSEL-AUF-AUS-STELLUNG, Museum der Culturen, Basel

2011 Performing Nowhere, during the FOCUS11 Symposium on Live Art, Basel

2010 Black Money Market, during University of Basel’s 550th Anniversary

2010 Like a Blind Man Looking for a Black Cat That Isn’t There, KZNSA Gallery, Durban

2010 The Unknowing Grammar of Inhabiting a Text, performance with Kemang Wa Lehulere, Center for Historical Re-Enactments, Johannesburg – Strasbourg

2010 1000 Ways of Being, South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2009 The Swing (After After Fragonard), Mai-Mai Market, Johannesburg

2009 The Great South African Art Queue, South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2009 Mass Action Strike!, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

2009 Heart of Darkness: Vol 1.1, Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg

2008 Does a Snowball Have to be White?, Chateau Mercier, Sierre

2008 The Red Suitcase, 9th Elia Biennial Conference, Ghent

2008 Not Yet (and nobody knows why not), Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi

2008 Silang Mabele III, Hohlraum 11, Basel

2008 Does a Snowball Have to be White?, Chateau Mercier, Sierre

2007 Let Go II, L’Arsenic, Lausanne

2007 Treason 2, in collaboration with Joubert Park Projects, Sierre

2006 Unity & Duality, performance with Katherine Oggier, Férme Asile, Sion

2006 Silang Mabele II, The Container (FAC-ECAV), Sierre

2005 Dieledi, The Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane

2004 Curio, L’Alliance Français, Johannesburg

2004 Breath, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

2004 Silang Mabele, Yugoslavian Museum of National History, Belgrade

2003 Diketo, Potchefstroom National Arts Festival, South Africa



2010-Present: Center for Historical Reenactments – CHR (Artist/Member)

2011-2012: NON_NON Collective (Artist/Member)


awards / shortlists

2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Performance Art, South Africa, (recipient)

2011 Visible Award, Italy, (shortlisted)

2011 Ernst Schering Art Award, Germany, (finalist)

2010 MTN New Contemporaries Award, South Africa, (finalist)

2005 – 2008 Recipient of the Wyss Scholarship, Sierre, Switzerland



2018 Maitland Institute, Cape Town

2017 CBK Residency, Amsterdam

2015 AIR Antwerpen, Antwerp

2013 FRAC de Pays de la Loire, Carquefou

2011 Pro-Helvetia Studio Residency, FOCUS, Basel


selected publications, reviews + essays
*denotes publication

2019 Pather, J and Boulle, C. Acts of Transgression: Contemporary Live Art in South Africa, NYU Press

2017 Kemp, P. Frieze Projects 2017: Donna Kukama, NE Volume [online] (Published 30 September 2017)

2017 Luke, B. Frieze Art Fair 2017: Donna Kukama on why she’s selling medicinal plants at an art fair, London Evening Standard, (Published 30 September 2017)

2017 Dzenko, C. and Avila, T. Contemporary Citezenship, Art, and Visual Culture, Routedge

2017 Gvero, V. Donna Kukama | The past, present and future tense of performance, HAPPENING [online] (Published 15 June 2017)

2016 Donna Kukama on Unfinished Stories, Fresh Art International [online] (Published 15 November 2016)

2016 In Conversation with Donna Kukama, Contemporary And with Cathy Byrd [online] (Published 16 September 2016)

2015 Gurney, K. The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City, Springer

2014 Leiman, L. FNB Joburg Art Fair | A Studio Visit with Donna Kukama, Between 10 and 5 [online] (Published 19 August 2014)

2014 Donna Kukama, SABC Digital News [online] (Published 5 April 2014]

2013 Lankester, T. Shape-shifting Kukama wins 2014 Performance Art Award, National Arts Festival [online] (Published 16 October 2013)

2013 Krouse, M. Chatting to Standard Bank’s young artist winner Donna Kukama, Mail & Guardian

2013 Krouse, M. Donna Kukama: Life is a laughing matter, Mail & Guardian [online] (Published 18 October 2013)

2012 Interview – Donna Kukama, Visible Project [online](Published 13 June 2012)

2011 Ngcobo, G. Don’t Panic, Jacana Media

2011 Thurman, C. Donna Kukama’s “Becoming-Animal” and Performance Art, Wits University Press [online] (Published 18 June 2012)

2009 Donna Kukama / My Piece of Gold, Scenographieurbaine [online] (Published 3 October 2009)

2009 Donna Kukama / Johannesburg 2009, Urban Scenos [online] (Published 6 May 2009)

2006 Stern, N. Donna Kukama, SAarts Emerging [online] (Published 20 January 2006)