Reckoning with the Past and Reclaiming the Future: A Conversation with Contemporary Artist Lhola Amira

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Lhola Amira, IRMANDADE: The Shape of Water in Pindorama (detail), 2018. Video HD, Single Channel Sound. Copyright Lhola Amira, Courtesy of SMAC Gallery

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, contemporary artist Lhola Amira responds to the wounds left by colonization across many disparate contexts to create spaces for healing through connection to the earth, the ancestral, and the spiritual.  

Join us for a conversation with the artist led by Natasha Becker, curator of African art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, as the two discuss Amira’s commitment to reckoning with historical and ongoing forms of cultural and ecological violence, THEIR cross-disciplinary art practice, as well as THEIR hopes for the future.

This conversation is part of the arts of Africa permanent collection exhibition, Lhola Amira: Facing the Future which opens to the public on Saturday, December 17, 2023. This conversation will be followed by a 10- to 15-minute audience Q+A.

About the speakers

Lhola Amira, with Khanyisile Mbongwa, was born in 1984 in Gugulethu, South Africa, and currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Amira’s practice includes Appearance (whenever the artist is physically present), photography, video, and sculpture presented under the term Constellations (a sacred space and gesture toward sacred healing). The artist Lhola Amira is an ancestral body coexisting in the body of Mbongwa. The pronouns THEY/THEM/THEIR are used in Appearances and in conversation about THEIR plural existence. Amira was recently included in NIRIN, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, and Raupenimmersattism: The Affluent Society as Consumed Society or the Myth of Endless Production and Consumption at SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin.

Natasha Becker is the inaugural curator of African art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and oversees the permanent collection of 19th- and 20th-century art from west and central Africa. She is exploring new curatorial concepts, acquisition strategies, and special exhibitions that will interpret the African art collection as a living and evolving culture and practice.

About the exhibition

Lhola Amira: Facing the Future launches a new program of special exhibitions that will interpret the African art collection as a living and evolving practice through the lens of contemporary art. Facing the Future is a resource for today’s troubling times, reminding us of our deep and profound connection to the earth and to each other.

COVID-19 guidance 

Masking is strongly recommended, but no longer required for members of the public or employees while in the museum.

Ticket info

Seating is limited and unassigned. Program tickets are distributed on a first-come first-served basis in front of the Koret Auditorium an hour before the program begins. This does not include admission to the museum.

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