Asanda Kupa’s (b.1981) work is grounded by the experiences of those forced to the periphery of ‘The New South Africa’; despite its great re-birth. Born in Molteno – a semi-rural village in South Africa’s poorest province, the Eastern Cape – Kupa’s scenes depict the chaos and energy of life for many of South Africa’s subjugated black population, a life that is defined by struggle and by lack of access to basic resources.
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Kupa is concerned with how the new political regime has failed its people – the very people who brought it to power through their own sacrifice – whilst also celebrating the self-determining spirit that marks a long history of civic action. Protest, spurred by grass-roots community frustration, is a central theme of his work. His series of striking crowd scenes, inspired by the Marikana mine-worker massacre of 2012, shows militant action not only as an expression of fury, but also a place of refuge and hope in post-apartheid South Africa.
See Asanda Kupa’s Joburg Art Fair (Sept 2018) catalogue here. His solo exhibition at Guns & Rain Johannesburg took place in April 2018. To view the solo exhibition catalogue, click here.
Raw, incisive and urgent, Kupa’s work captures an important period in South Africa’s political history, as he reflects on the breadth and depth of economies of hope, hopelessness and popular protest.
Kupa lives in Johannesburg, works at the Bag Factory, and frequently returns to his childhood home. He holds an NDip in Fine Art from Walter Sisulu University and a BTech degree from Tshwane University of Technology. Between 2009 and 2011, he resurrected the Molteno Museum. He was the recipient of both the Ann Bryant Young Artist of the Year award (2010), and the Reinhold Cassirer Award (2013). His work sits in a number of important South African collections, including The Southern African Foundation For Contemporary Art and Nando’s.
Exhibitions, Awards & Collections
2019 Guns & Rain, Investec Cape Town Art Fair
2018 Guns & Rain, AKAA Paris
2018 Guns & Rain, FNB Joburg Art Fair
2018 ‘Feast Your Eyes’, Group Show, Nando’s, London, UK
2018 ‘Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs’, Group Show, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, USA
2018 ‘Theories of the Crowd’, Solo Exhibition, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
2018 Guns & Rain, Investec Cape Town Art Fair
2018 Kooshk Residency, Tehran, Iran
2017 National Art Bank Group Show, Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein
2017 Guns & Rain, Also Known As Africa, Paris
2017 ’35 Years: Trailblazers’, Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg
2017 ‘Un_Learn, my soul’, Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town
2017 MK & Artists, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg
2017 “#AMANDLA![Re]form,Debate,[Re]dress?”, Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein
2016 ‘Charting’, Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town
2016 Art Source SA, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg
2015 Guns & Rain, LL Editions, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg
2015 ‘Introspection… Where art Thou?’, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg
2014 ‘Dialogues with Masters’, Special Projects, FNB Joburg Art Fair
2014 Bag Factory, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg
2013 Reinhold Cassirer Award, South Africa
2013 Joburg Fringe Art Fair, Johannesburg
2013 Thami Mnyele Art Competion Exhibition, Johannesburg
2013 Albany Museum, National Arts Festival, Eastern Cape, South Africa
2013 ‘Urgency’, Bag Factory, Johannesburg