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Meleko Mokgosi

Bio

Meleko Mokgosi (b. 1981 Francistown, Botswana) uses painting to interrogate the very concerns that inform its death drive: the limits of representation, the politics of abstraction, and the mode of viewing enabled by rectangular canvases on a gallery wall. The artist’s technical acuity delivers a kind of critical visuality, asking viewers to draw out affinities between experiencing and interpreting. The works on view here are part of a larger series dealing with the African postcolonial situation. Pax Kaffraria: Sikhuselo Sembumbulu (2012) addresses the question of nationalism in relation to globalization and resistance. The work meditates on sikhuselo sembumbulu, a Xhosa term meaning “bulletproof.” This is a reference to the Xhosa cattle killings of 1856–57, which were intended to drive away colonial powers and simultaneously resurrect ancestors. The series of works frames the historic event and considers a legacy of resistance that continues today—namely, the persistent drive to become bulletproof. At the same time this history is represented as only partially available to viewers, suggesting the difficulty of cultural translation.

Mohn Award Finalist

Gallery

Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi. Pax Kaffraria: Sikhuselo Sembumbulu, 2012. Made in L.A. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, June 2-September 2, 2012. Photo by Brian Forrest.

Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi. Pax Afrikaner: Satisfaction of Sensation (1–4), 2011. Oil on canvas. 4 panels, 96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm), 72 x 90 in. (182.9 x 228.6 cm), 108 x 72 in. (274.3 x 182.9 cm), and 96 x 144 in. (243.8 x 365.8 cm). Courtesy the artist.

Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi. Pax Afrikaner: Good Boy (1–2), 2011. Oil on canvas. 2 panels, 96 x 144 in. (243.8 x 365.8 cm) each. Courtesy the artist.

Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi. Full Belly (4), 2011. Oil on canvas. 96 x 84 in. (243.8 x 213.4 cm). Courtesy the artist. Photo by Michael Underwood.

Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi. Pax Afrikaner: Satisfaction of Sensation (1), 2011. Oil on canvas. 96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm). Collection of Sam and Shanit Schwartz. Courtesy the artist. Photo by Michael Underwood.

Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi. Pax Kaffraria: Sikhuselo Sembumbulu, 2012. Made in L.A. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, June 2-September 2, 2012. Photo by Brian Forrest.

Meleko Mokgosi