Berni Searle (7 July 1964) is a South African artist who works with photography, video, and film to produce lens-based installations that stage narratives connected to history, memory, and place. Often politically and socially engaged, her work also draws on the universal emotions associated with vulnerability, loss and beauty.
She received her MAFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (1995). Solo exhibitions during 2011 included Shimmer at the Stevenson gallery, Cape Town and Interlaced which featured new commissioned work, opened at De Hallen in Bruges, Belgium and travelled to the Museum for Moderne Kunst Arnhem (MMKA) in the Netherlands and Frac Lorraine in Metz France.
Recent group exhibitions include Figures and Fictions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, She Devil at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (MACRO), The Dissolve. SITE Santa Fe, 8th International Biennial, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has participated in the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997) and the Venice Biennales of 2001 and 2005. She received the Minister of Culture Prize at the 2000 Dakar Biennale and the UNESCO/AICA Award at the 1998 Cairo Biennale.
Berni Searle lives and works in Cape Town and is currently Associate Professor at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town.
- UNESCO award (1998)
- Minister of Culture prize at the Dak’art Biennale (2000)
- Civitella Ranieri Fellowship (2001)
- Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2003)
Nominations and shortlists
- FNB VITA Art Award (2000)
- Daimler-Chrysler Award for South African Contemporary Art (2000)
- Artes Mundi award (2004)
- Williamson, Sue. "Artbio - Berni Searle". artthrob - Issue No. 33, May 2000. artthrob. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
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Perryer, Sophie (2004). 10 Years 100 Artists: Art In A Democratic South Africa. Cape Town: Struik. ISBN 1868729877.