Thania Petersen (b. 1980, Cape Town) 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. She has held solo exhibitions at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, the AVA, Cape Town and at the Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions both locally and abroad.
ZAMUNDA FOREVER is her first solo exhibition in the States. Recent exhibitions include Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest: 10 Years, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest (2023); 18th Venice Architecture Biennale (2023); Indigo Waves and other Stories, SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin (2023); Indigo Waves and other Stories, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town (2022–2023); Artists’ Film International (traveling), Whitechapel, London, Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, and others (2022); Can We Sing Together, Old Friend?, 32 Bis, Tunis (2022, solo); Triennale Kleinplastic Fellbach: The Vibration of Things, Alte Kelter Fellbach, Fellbach (2022); Where Do I Begin, Stevenson, Cape Town (2022); KASSARAM, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town (2021, solo); Indian Ocean Craft Triennial: Curiosity and the Rituals of the Everyday, Fremantle, Australia (2021); Self-Addressed, curated by Kehinde Wiley, Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles (2021); Un.e Air.e de Famille, Musée d’art et d’histoire Paul Eluard, Saint-Denis (2021); Between Land and a Raised Foot, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa (2019, solo); Radical Love, Ford Foundation, New York (2019); and IQRA, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town (2019, solo). Her work is collected by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.; Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), Cape Town; IZIKO South African Museum, Cape Town; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; and many others.