Nomusa Makhubu

b. 1984, Vaal Triangle, South Africa; lives in Cape Town.
Nomusa Makhubu’s artistic practice explores the construction of identities through colonial histories and presents, using photographic self-portraiture, projection and collage. Holding a PhD in Art History and a rich publication record, Makhubu is also a leading pedagogical and curatorial presence in the African arts scene.


2014: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
2012: Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (PGDHE), Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
2009: Master of Art (MA), Art History, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
2007: Bachelor of Art (BA) with distinction, Fine Art, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

Solo Exhibitions (South Africa)

2018: Intertwined 2004-2018, Bird Street Gallery (Nelson Mandela University Visual Art Department), Port Elisabeth.
2010: DreamSweepers, Artspace, Johannesburg.
2008: Iso Eliphandliwe, Alliance Française, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town.

Solo Exhibitions (International)

2008: Iso Elipandliwe, Alliance Française, Mbabane, Maseru.

Group Exhibitions (South Africa)

2016: Beyond Binaries, Essence Festival, Durban.
2015: Trek: Following Journeys, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town.
2014 - 2015: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan (NNM) Art Museum Biennale, NNM Art Museum, Port Elizabeth.
2014: Blood, Sweat and Tears, ABSA Art Gallery, Johannesburg.
2014: Actuality & Illusions, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town.
2014: Co-Existence, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town.
2014: Silk and Steel, Galerie NOKO, Port Elizabeth.
2013: Crossing the Divide, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town.
2013: Cape Town Art Fair, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town.
2013: Glamour Aid Charity Dinner & Art Auction, The Bay Hotel, Cape Town.
2012: Re-Sampled, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg.
2011: Water (with Injairu Kulundu), performance, Grahamstown.
2009: Umahluko, Cape ’09, Cape Town.
2008: Hollywood, Nollywood, Bollywood, ArtSpace, Johannesburg.
2008: Construct, University of South Africa (UniSA) Gallery, Pretoria; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum, Port Elizabeth; Settlers Monument, Grahamstown.
2008: Four Tales, Gallery MOMO, Johannesburg.
2008: Glimpse, Bean Bag Bohemia, Durban.
2008: 3 Years, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg.
2007: Spier Contemporary, Spier, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg.
2007: Contemporary Visions Of Southern Africa, Pretoria Museum, Pretoria.
2007: Sasol New Signatures, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria.
2006: Positive, Sun International/ Tapologo Aids Hospice Exhibition, Johannesburg.
2006 - 2008: Look At Me, Artists for Humanity: Women Against Child Abuse Print Project, Billboard: Raglan Road, Grahamstown.
2005: Brett Kebble Art Awards Exhibition, Johannesburg.
2005: Eastern Cape Artists Exhibition: Paperworks, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.

Group Exhibitions (International)

2014: Twenty: Contemporary South African Art, The Appalachian State University, North Carolina.
2014: Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar.
2015: Am I Not a Man and a Brother? Am I Not a Woman and a Sister? Archer Gallery, Washington; James Harris Gallery, Seattle.
2012: The Fourth Dali International Photography Exhibition, Dali.
2010: No More Bad Girls, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna.
2009: Photoquai, Musee du Quai Branly, Paris.
2009: The World Needs Us, Centro Luigi di Sarro, Rome.
2008: I Love Jozi, Gallery Béatrice Binoche, Reunion Island.
2007 - 2011: Art From The Ground Up, Hanover; Kuopio.
2007: Faces to Face (with Javier Maltos Galves), Internationale Cite Des Arts, Paris.
2007: Jeune Creation, Galerie Jeune Creation, Paris.

Curatorial Projects

2019: The Stronger we Become (with Nkule Mabaso), South African Pavillion at the Venice Biennale, Venice.
2015: Fantastic (with Nkule Mabaso), Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town.


The Hood Museum of African Art Dartmouth College, Hanover.
North-West University Gallery, Potchefstroom.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth.
University of South Africa, Pretoria.
Telkom Art Collection, South Africa.
Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein.

Scholarships and Fellowships

2017 - 2018: Harvard-UCT Mandela Fellow.
2017: Institute of Creative Arts (ICA), Writing Fellow.
2016: African Studies Association Presidential Fellow, (selected from ACLS African Humanities Program Fellowship), Rutgers University, Princeton University and Syracuse University.
2015 - 16: American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), African Humanities Program Fellow.
2014: CAA-Getty International Fellow, for CAA conference and Williamstown, Massachusetts trip.
2010: Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) Fellow, Lagos.
2008: Abe Bailey Fellowship, United Kingdom.
2007 - 2008: Würth Scholarship for M.A. (Art History), Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
2007: M.A Art History Scholarship, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

Research Grants

2014: University of Cape Town, Cape Town.
2008-2013: Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
2012: ProHelvetia, South Africa.
2011: Art Moves Africa (AMA), Africa.

Academic Prizes

2020: Thinker, 40 Under 40 Africa, Apollo Magazine, online.
2017: First Runner-Up, Women in Science Awards (WiSA), South African Department of Science and Technology (DST).
2007: Purvis Prize for Academic Achievement in Fine Art, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

Exhibition Prizes and Artist Residencies

2014: Fresnoy Prize, received at the Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar.
2006: Woman of the Year Award,  "Art” category, Rhodes Amnesty International.
2006: Winner of ABSA L’Atelier, Gerard Sekoto Prize, three-month residency at Internationale Cite Des Arts, Paris.
1998: Third Prize, Vaal Abstract Work Exhibition, Vaal Triangle.