Sethembile Msezane was born in 1991 in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
She was awarded a Masters in Fine Arts in 2017 from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, where she also completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2012.
Using interdisciplinary practice encompassing performance, photography, film, sculpture and drawing, Msezane creates commanding works heavy with spiritual and political symbolism. The artist explores issues around spirituality, commemoration and African knowledge systems. She processes her dreams as a medium through a lens of the plurality of existence across space and time, asking questions about the remembrance of ancestry. Part of her work has examined the processes of mythmaking which are used to construct history, calling attention to the absence of the black female body in both the narratives and physical spaces of historical commemoration.
Msezane’s work has been widely exhibited across South Africa and internationally, and was included in All Things Being Equal…, the inaugural exhibition of the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, and forms part of the museum’s collection, as well as that of the Iziko South African National Gallery, and the University of South Africa (UNISA), in Johannesburg. In 2015, during protests by the Rhodes Must Fall Movement, she presented the performance Chapungu – The Day Rhodes Fell at the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town.
Solo presentations include Unframed, Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa (2018); All Things Being Equal…, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa (2017); Umoya: A Quiet Revolution, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa (2017); and Kwasuka Sukela, Gallery MoMo, Cape Town, South Africa (2017).
Group exhibitions include Cape to Tehran, Gallery MoMo, Cape Town, South Africa (2018); The Winter Sculpture Fair, Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa (2017); Re[as]sisting Narratives, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2016); Women’s Work, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (2016); Dance, if you want to enter my country! / Global Citizen, GoetheOnMain, Johannesburg, South Africa (2016); iQhiya, The AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (2016); Translations, Emergent Art Space, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA (2015); and Camouflage, Circa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2013).
In 2017, she performed as part of iQhiya (collective) at dOCUMENTA 14 in both Athens, Greece, and Kassel, Germany. The same year, she was a speaker at the TED Global conference held in Arusha, Tanzania. She has participated in the Sylt Foundation Emerging Artist Residency, Sylt and Künstlerhäuser Worpswede, Germany (2017), and the Situate Arts Lab Residency, Hobart, Australia (2016).