Writing Art History Since 2002

First Title

Challenging the cracks and contradictions in knowledge systems


Having just seen the close of his exhibition ‘Acts of Resistance’ at the Baltimore Museum of Art – Botswanan artist Maleko Makgosi installs another exhibition at the Gallatin Galleries in New York. Double Bind opens on 5 December this year, running through to 23 January 2019. This upcoming showcase focuses on the concept of contradictions within conditions of knowledge; the nature of subjectivities and how they exist within our systems of understanding. His work largely consisting of a dialogue through the histories of painting and post-colonial theories, Makgosi engages with topics of nationhood and identity.

Born in Botswana, Makgosi moved to London to pursue a tertiary education at the Slade School of Fine Art. After various independent studies in the Bachelor of Arts in both Massachusetts and New York, Makgiso culminated his studies with a Masters in Fine Art from UCLA.

Having exhibited in his home country at the Botswana National Gallery – Makgosi’s work went on to travel both locally on the African continent as well as internationally. Galleries and institutions housing solo shows include, Fowler Museum, UCLA (2018); Rochester Contemporary Art Centre, New York (2017); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2015), as well as Stevenson, Cape Town (2016) and the Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (2015, 2016). Notable group exhibitions include Art/Afrique, le Nouvel Atelier at Fondation Louis Vuitton (2017; the African American Museum, Los Angeles (2016) and the Museum of the African Diaspora (2017) and more.

Followed by a strong school of contemporary African artists painting their way through identity politics within post colonial Africa , Makgiso’s work rubs shoulders both formally and conceptually with that of Richard Mudariki, Cinga Samson, and Billie Zengewa to affirm the notions of identity, history and individual realities being presented in contemporary African art today.

Believing strongly in the notion of personal experience and identity within one’s work – Makgosi highlights the element of subjectivity within the making of art, declaring it as near impossible to make anything outside of one’s own experiences, identity and resultant subjectivity. Makgosi challenges the cracks and contradictions in knowledge systems, namely those of a Eurocentric discourse and its habits in ‘otherness’ creating limitations on the notion of ‘identity’. A virtue defined by individual reality and subjective experience made to exist within particular parameters allowing for an understanding of ‘identity’ as autonomous, to be twisted into something quite the opposite.


Pamela Bentley is a writer on ART AFRICA‘s editorial team.

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