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

Sabelo Mlangeni

“I have been moving around Johannesburg and its closest suburbs as someone interested in story-telling about everyday life. I am concerned by the migration flow within the urban areas, especially in the context of the South African social landscape, heavily burdened by legislation then, and now by economic constraints,” he says. “In my early walks I found myself in many spaces where the situation and the living conditions were impossible to look at and to photograph. Then I started wondering, what to frame? Soon another side of the hardships emerged, and I attempted to capture that hidden beauty, that ordinary peace.”

Working mainly in a black and white format, Sabelo Mlangeni’s photographs have focused on capturing the intimate, everyday moments of communities in contemporary South Africa. Born in 1980 in Driefontein near Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga, Mlangeni moved to Johannesburg in 2001 where he joined the Market Photo Workshop, graduating in 2004. Since then, his work has been widely exhibited locally and internationally, at Huis Marseille Museum of Photography (2019), Wits Art Museum (2018), Savvy Contemporary (2018), Kunsthal KAde (2018), Walther Collection (2017), Museum Africa (2015), Haus der Kunst (2013), Liverpool Biennale (2013), Lubumbashi Biennale (2012), Lagos Photo Festival (2011), V&A Museum (2011), Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum (2010), and Johannesburg Art Gallery (2010).

Mlangeni has been awarded several prizes including Africa MediaWorks Photography Prize (London, 2018), POPCAP’16 Prize for Contemporary African Photography (2016), and the Tollman Award for Visual Arts (2009). and has had residencies at A4 Arts Foundation (Cape Town, 2018), Centre de Art Waza (Lubumbashi, 2017), Walther Collection (Neu-Ulm, 2017), Akademie der Künste (Vienna, 2014), Akademie der Künste (Berlin, 2013) and Centre for Contemporary Art (Lagos, 2010). His work is represented in several institutional collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Walther Collection, Art Institute of Chicago and Sasol Art Collection. Mlangeni lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.


curriculum vitae

1980   Born in Driefontein, Mpumalanga, South Africa

           Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa



2001 – 2004   Market Photo Workshop


solo exhibitions

2018   Umlindelo wamaKholwa, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa

2018   Invisible Women, Memorial Dr. Antonio Agostinho Neto, Luanda, Angola

2017   Kholwa: The Longing of Belonging, Museum of Archeology, Cambridge, UK

2016   Heartbreaker, artSPACE, Auckland, New Zealand

2015   No Problem, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

2012   Black Men in Dress and Iimbali, Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa

2012   Country Girls, Aceberg Projects, Chicago, USA

2011   Ghost Towns, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

2010   Men Only/At Home, Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa

2010   This is Our Time, Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa

2007   Invisible Women, Warren Siebrits Contemporary Morden Art, Johannesburg, South Africa

2006   Invisible Women, Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa


selected group exhibitions

2019    Ngoma: Art and Cosmology, JAG, Johannesburg, South Africa

2019    the head the hand, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

2019    How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine?, Lagos Biennial II, Àkéte Art Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria

2019    The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture, Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, USA

2019   Crossing Night: Regional Identities x Global Context, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, USA

2019   Mating Birds Vol.2, KZNSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa

2018   Recent Histories – New African Photography and Video Art from the Walther Collection, Huis Marseille, Amsterdam

2018   open agenda, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

2018   Hacer Noche (Crossing Night), Centro Cultural Santo Domingo, Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico

2018  Both, And, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

2018   Africa State of Mind, curated by Ekow Eshun, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK

2018   About Whose Land Have I Lit On Now? At Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, Germany

2018   Invisible Women at Memorial Dr. Antonio Agostinho Neto, Luanda, Angola

2018   Tell Freedom. 15 African artists, Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort, Netherlands

2017   Recent Histories – New African Photography and Video Art, Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany

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

2016   Close to Home: New Photography from Africa, The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

2016   SEX, Stevenson, Johannesburg

2015  Rise and Fall of Apartheid : Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, Museum Africa, Johannesburg

2015   Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany; Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain

2014   Public Intimacy: Art and Social Life in South Africa at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, USA

2014   Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2013   Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany

2013   Distance and desire: Encounters with African Archive, Walther Collection, Neu Ulm, Germany

2013   Present Tense, Calouse Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal

2013   Present Tense, Calouse Gulbenkian French Delegation, Paris, France

2013   The Unexpected Guest, Liverpool Biennale exhibition, Liverpool, UK

2012   Recontres Picha Biennale de Lumbumbashi (Lubumbashi Biennale), DRC

2012   Centre photograpie de la de Franse, Paris, France

2011   9th Rencontres de Bamako African Photography Biennale, Mali

2011   Lagos Photo Festival, Nigeria

2011   Appropriated Landscapes, Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany

2011   Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography, V&A Museum, London, UK

2011   Possible Cities: Africa in photography and video, Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, Pennsylvania, USA

2010   Centre for Contemorary Art, Lagos, Nigeria

2010   Afropolis: City, Media, Art, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne, Germany

2010  I am not afraid, The Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa

2008  Look Away, South African Photography Today, Kuckei+Kuckei, Berlin, Germany



2018   A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa

2018   Ses Ditze Naus, Ibiza, Spain

2017   Centre de Art Waza, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo

2017   Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany

2016   Diep, Haven, Arques la bataille, Normandy, France

2015   Afrovibes, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2014   Akademie of art Vienna, Vienna, Austria

2013   Berlin Fellowship, Akademie der Kunste, Berlin, Germany

2012   Centre photograpie de la de Franse, Paris, France

2010   Centre for Contemorary Art, Lagos, Nigeria


public and institutional collections

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA

Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Sasol, Johannesburg, South Africa

Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA



2019  Cane, J. Civilising Grass: The art of the lawn on the South African Highveld, NYU Press, US

2018  Sabelo Mlangeni: Umlindelo wamaKholwa, Wits Art Museum, South Africa

2011  Sabelo Mlangeni: At Home / Ghost Towns, Michael Stevenson, South Africa

2010  Sabelo Mlangeni: Country Girls, Michael Stevenson, South Africa

2009  Sabelo Mlangeni: Men Only, Michael Stevenson, South Africa


selected reviews + essays

2018   Sabelo Mlangeni Exhibition on Zion Churches shows in Johannesburg, Afropolitian Explosive, South Africa [online] (Published 8 December 2018)

2018   Confessional Documentary: Sabelo Mlangeni and Wolfgang Tillmans in Johannesburg, ArtThrob, South Africa [online] (Published 26 October 2018)

2018   Seymour, T. Sabelo Mlangeni, Nataal, UK [online] (Published 11 October 2018)

2018   Warner, M. Sabelo Mlangeni’s images of South Africa, British Journal of Photography, UK [online] (Published 5 October 2018)

2018   Mcutha, N. Umlindelo wamaKholwa: Sabelo Mlangeni’s zionism photography, Between 10 and 5, South Africa [online] (Published 26 July 2018)

2018   Stevens, N. The Believers: Sabelo Mlangeniʼs ‘Umlindelo wamaKholwaʼ, ArtThrob, South Africa [online] (Published 17 July 2018)

2018   Lim, D. Quiet images of the Zionist Christian Church, City Press, South Africa [online] (Published 8 July 2018)

2018   Anstey, G. Photographer Sabelo Mlangeni is immersed in his art, Sunday Times, South Africa [online] (Published 10 June 2018)

2018   Edwards, C. New photography exhibition features South Africa’s flourishing Zionist churches, The South African, South Africa [online] (Published 8 June 2018)

2018   Elizabeth, M. Sabelo Mlangeni // capturing the confidence and intimacy of LGBTQ communities in South Africa, Bubblegum Club, South Africa [online] (Published 5 March 2018)

2017   Madondo, B. A South African Flâneur’s Ambivalent View of Johannesburg, The New Yorker, US [online] (Published 4 June 2017)

2017   Keam, S. Sabelo Mlangeni: Documenting A New South Africa, The Culture Trip, UK [online] (Published 11 January 2017)

2014   Ngcobo, G. Art in Context Africa, Part I: Sabelo Mlangeni’s No Problem, and a visit to the site of Michelle Monareng’s Removal to Radium, Art Review, UK (Published October 2014)

2012   Bongela, M. Vanity, Pride and Prejudice, Mail & Guardian, South Africa [online] (Published 10 February 2012)

2010   Jacobs, S. ‘Afropolis’, Africa is a Country, US [online] (Published 13 November 2010)

2009   Jacobs, S. Photography: Sabelo Mlangeni, Africa is a Country, US [online] (Published 11 September 2009)