Zwelethu Mthethwa

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Zwelethu Mthethwa
Born 1960
Durban, South Africa
Nationality  South African
Education Michaelis School of Fine Art
Known for Painter and Photographer

Zwelethu Mthethwa (born 1960) is a South African painter and photographer. Mthethwa is represented in Cape Town by BRUNDYN + GONSALVES,[1] Johannesburg by Everard Read[2] and in New York by the Jack Shainman Gallery.[3]


Mthethwa, a native of Durban, received his diplomas at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. He received a Fulbright Scholarship that allowed him to study at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received his master's degree in imaging arts in 1989. Upon returning home, he worked for some years in business before becoming a lecturer on photography and drawing at the Michaelis School in 1994. He left the post in 1999 to devote himself full-time to his art. Mthethwa is best known for his large-format color photographs, but also works in paint and pastel; he has had over 50 solo exhibitions in galleries around the world. Currently he lives and works in Cape Town.

Recent Developments[edit]

His work was included in the 2005 Venice Biennale[4] and the 2004 Gwangju Biennale.

Mthethwa's collaboration video work The Dying Minutes with Matthew Hindley has been selected for FIVAC, Festival Internacional de videoarte deCamaguey, Cuba 2011, and will be exhibited on the group show Global Groove at the new Eli and Eydthe Broad Museum, opening Fall 2012.[5]

Allegations of Murder[edit]

Zwelethu Mthethwa was charged with the murder of a 23-year-old woman named Nokuphila Kumalo. According to Jillian Steinhauer, "The murder took place on April 13, 2014 when a man brutally hit and kicked Kumalo, who’s believed to have been a sex worker, to death on a street in Woodstock, a suburb of Cape Town. Closed-circuit cameras captured the assault and led police to Mthethwa. There is also reportedly an eye witness. The artist denies the charges and claims innocence." [6] Mthethwa's trial has been postponed to June 1, 2015.

Selected Recent Solo Exhibitions[edit]




  • New Works, iArt Gallery (now BRUNDYN + GONSALVES), Cape Town[10]


  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: Inner Views, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York[11]
  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: Brick workers & Contemporary Gladiators, Galeria Oliva Arauna, Madrid, Spain[12]
  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: Is it our goal…? And Other Related Issues, Circa on Jellicoe, Johannesburg, South Africa[13]
  • Zwelethu Mthethwa, iArt Gallery, Cape Town[14]


  • Zwelethu Mthethwa: New Works, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York[15]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]