Thania Petersen


Thania Petersen is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses photography, performance and installation to address the intricacies and complexities of her identity in contemporary South Africa.

Petersen’s reference points sit largely in Islam and in creating awareness about its religious, cultural and traditional practices. She attempts to unpack contemporary trends of Islamophobia through her analysis of the continuing impact of colonialism, European and American imperialism, and the increasing influence of right-wing ideologies.

Threads in her work include the history of colonialist imperialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as the social and cultural impact of westernised consumer culture. Her work is also informed by her Cape Malay heritage, and the practice of Sufi Islamic religious ceremonies.

Petersen studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art in London. In 2018, Petersen held her solo exhibition IQRA at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town. She has hosted additional solo exhibitions in 2016 at the AVA, Cape Town and in 2017 at the Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions both locally and abroad, including Radical Love, at the Ford Foundation, New York (2019) and Present Passing: South by Southeast, at the Osage Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2019). Petersen was awarded the Thami Mnyele Residency in Amsterdam in 2019.

Petersen is represented in various public and private collections including The Durban Art GalleryThe IZIKO South African National Gallery, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA)The Kilbourn CollectionThe Jochen Zeitz Collection, and The Yeojoo City Collection, South Korea.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019 Thania Petersen Selected Works, No Mans Art Gallery, Amsterdam
Unraveled, commissioned performance, Afrovibes, Compagnietheatre, Amsterdam
Between Land and a Raised Foot, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
2017 Remnants - Remnants, Everard Read, Cape Town
2015 I AM ROYAL - I AM ROYAL, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019 Breaking the Rules: SA Artists Ask Questions... Old Rules... New Rules? Durban Art Gallery, Durban
Interactive Aesthetics, William Humphreys Art Gallery, South Africa
Curitiba Biennale, Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Brazil
Radical Love, Ford Foundation, New York
Present Passing: South by Southeast, Osage Art Foundation, Hong Kong
Vantage Point Sharjah 7, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE
2018 Everard Read Gallery booth, Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town
2017 Urban Axis, PS Art Space Fremantle, Perth, Australia
Dislocation, Everard Read, Cape Town
All Things Being Equal..., Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town
Dear History: It’s Not Me, It’s You, LKB/G Gallery, Hamburg
Past and Present Intersect, IZIKO National Gallery, Cape Town
Beyond Binaries, Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts Museum
People and Portraiture, Everard Read, Cape Town
Beauty & its Beasts: Has the female stereotype changed? Durban Art Gallery, Durban
2016 Surface and Subtext, Everard Read, Cape Town
Essence Festival, Durban Art Gallery Museum
AKAA Paris Art Fair, Everard Read /CIRCA Booth. Paris
Studio, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town
2015 AVA Gallery booth, Johannesburg Art Fair, Johannesburg
Brundyn+ Gallery booth, Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town
2005 The 3rd World Ceramic Biennale, Kyongg Province, Korea
2003 Annual Group Exhibition, Central Saint Martin's College of Art, London
2001 Carnival Group Exhibition, Tabernacle, Notting Hill Gate, London