Meleko Mokgosi

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Meleko Mokgosi
Born1981 (age 37–38)
Alma materWilliams College
OccupationArtist • assistant professor
EmployerNew York University

Meleko Mokgosi (born 1981) is an artist and assistant professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University.[1][2] His work includes large-scale paintings that explore themes of colonialism, democracy, nationalism, and life in Southern Africa.[1][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Mokgosi was born in 1981 in Francistown, Botswana, and raised in the city of Maun.[1][3][5] He began drawing in primary school.[5] While in high school, he became interested in the potential of making political commentary with art.[6] In 2003, he moved to the United States, participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program, and studied art at Williams College and UCLA, earning B.A. and Master of Fine Arts degrees.[1][6][5] Mokgosi studied for four years with American conceptual artist Mary Kelly, who guided him in developing a project-based practice, which he described as "focused not on producing objects but articulating a set of questions".[7]


From 2008–2011 Mokgosi created his first series of paintings, Pax Afrikaner, which explored xenophobia and national identity in southern Africa.[4]

In 2012, Mokgosi was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem.[8][5] There he worked on completing his Pax Kaffraria painting series, which he explained was "to explore how people in southern Africa think about nationhood."[5] Mokgosi made a series of more than 50 paintings on the subject of colonialism in Africa.[8] A book on the Pax Kaffraria project was published by the Hammer Museum in 2014.[9]

In 2014, Mokgosi began the project Democratic Intuition, which he described as being about "how do normal people understand, reciprocate, have access to, and not have access to the ideas of democracy and the democratic". He presented the first two chapters of this work at his first solo New York exhibition in 2016.[1]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • 2012 – Inaugural Mohn Award, Hammer Museum[8]
  • 2017 – Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts[10][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Mullen, Matt (August 11, 2016). "Artists at Work: Meleko Mokgosi". Interview Magazine. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Meleko Mokgosi". Gallatin School of Individualized Study. New York University. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Embuscado, Rain (September 8, 2016). "A Lot Happened In Jack Shainman's Basement With Artist Meleko Mokgosi". artnet. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Biswas, Allie (October 4, 2016). "Meleko Mokgosi with Allie Biswas". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lipschutz, Yael (June 29, 2012). "Meleko Mokgosi's Existentialism". Art in America. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Meleko Mokgosi: No time for epiphanies". Vilcek Foundation. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  7. ^ Flanigan, Robin L. (January 26, 2017). "Mokgosi's art comes to joint MAG and RoCo exhibit". Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Pincus-Roth, Zachary (August 16, 2012). "Meleko Mokgosi Wins Hammer Museum's Mohn Award". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Binstock, Jonathan P.; Gaines, Malik (2014). Meleko Mokgosi: Pax Kaffraria. Hammer Museum. ISBN 9780991635696.
  10. ^ "The Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts - Meleko Mokgosi". The Vilcek Foundation. Retrieved August 29, 2017.

External links[edit]