Llohla Amira holding a candle and looking straight ahead

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

Lhola Amira: Facing the Future

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.

This solo exhibition, the artist’s first in the United States, features the newly created, site-specific spiritual portal Philisa: Zinza Mphefumlo Wami (2022). Philisa are unique portals, sacred spaces for the cleansing of wounds, honoring ancestors, and fostering connection. Visitors are invited to enter this sacred grove with support for whatever may unfold. Also included is the single-channel video projection IRMANDADE: The Shape of Water in Pindorama (2018–2020), produced by the artist in Bahia, Brazil. The film documents the artist’s journey through the city, contemplating the wounds of the ocean, the land, and the descendants of enslaved Africans while offering gestures toward healing.

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.

Exhibition preview

In the news

  • The beads suspended in Lhola Amira’s exhibit . . . are like threads that connect the experiences of Black and Brown people, from the U.S. to Amira’s native South Africa and around the world.

    Jobina Fortson and Tim Didion, ABC7
  • The intention with Lhola Amira is to turn the entire gallery into a sacred space.

    Tony Bravo, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Feet, water, land, bones, beads and veils, and salt and sound all selectively, deliberately prepared and placed, work towards a healing that Amira hopes . . . through THEIR work, can be a soft, gentle, kind healing.

    Zaheda Mohamed-Salerni, okayafrica




This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, with the generous support of Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Currently on view