CV Sue Williamson

Born in Lichfield, England in 1941. Family emigrated to South Africa in 1948.
Lives and works in Cape Town. In the 1980s, Williamson was well known for her series of portraits of women involved in the country’s political struggle. A Few South Africans went some way towards filling the representational void of people and events during apartheid. And in many ways, her video work focusing on South African immigrants is a return to this concern. She says: “You become aware of the audience to whom you speak. In that sense, you think backwards: what you have to say, whom you say it to, and how it will reach the audience. Having to consider your work through the eyes of somebody who knows nothing about you as an artist and what you are doing is a useful exercise.” Williamson has managed to avoid the rut of being caught in an apartheid-era aesthetic, she says: “I am never particularly interested in doing what I did the last time. I take one thing and work it out a number of ways.” This fact is reflected in the variety of media Williamson embraces, from print to mixed media, video and site-specific installations.

Solo Exhibitions

2014 There’s something I must tell you, Iziko Slave Lodge, Cape Town
2013 All Our Mothers Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg and Cape Town
2012 The Mothers: a 31 Year Chronicle, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2011 Voices, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
2009 Other Voices, Other Cities, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
2009 The Truth is on the Walls, Wilfredo Lam Centre, Havana, 10th Havana
Biennale, Cuba
2007 Hotels and Better Lives, Wertz Gallery, Atlanta, USA
2005 Hotels and Better Lives, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
2004 Messages from the Moat, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2003 Sue Williamson: Selected Work, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, Belgium
2002 From the Inside, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2002 The Last Supper Revisited, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C., USA
2001 Can’t forget, can’t remember, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2000 Messages from the Moat, Archive Building,Den Haag, Netherlands
1998 Truth Games, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1994 Out of the Ashes, Fortaleza de la Cabana, 5th Havana Biennale, Cuba
1994 For Thirty Years Next to his Heart, North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, USA
1993 The Last Supper Revisited, Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, South Africa
1987-9 A Few South Africans, Visual Art Resources of the University of Oregon. Canadian and US tour
1985 A Few South Africans, University of Oregan, Eugene. USA
1981 The Last Supper, Gowlett Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Group Exhibitions

2015 Questao de Familia (Family Matters), Centro de Arte Helio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro
2014 Contemporary Art / South Africa, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
2014 Artevida (politica), Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2014 Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture, Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New
2014 Rise and Fall of Apartheid, Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
2013 – 2015 Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive Walther Collection, Ulm
2013 Rise and Fall of Apartheid, Museum Africa, Johannesburg
2013 Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive , 55th Venice Biennale
2013 My Joburg La Maison Rouge, Paris; Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden
2013 The Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, Haus der Kunst,
2012 The Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, International Center
of Photography, New York
2011 12th Istanbul Biennial
2011 Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2011 Artefacts, The Project Space, Ann Arbor
2010 Darkroom, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
2010 Ampersand, Daimler Gallery, Berlin
2010 Pierneef to Gugulective – 1910-2010, South African National Gallery, Cape Town
2009 Unbounded: New Art for a New Century Newark Museum, N.J.
2009 Nation State, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2008 Africa: Personal Poetics, Guangzhou Triennale. Guangdong Museum of Art, China*
2008 The Poetics of Cloth, Grey Art Gallery, New York University
2008 Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, Exit Gallery, New York,
2007 Lift Off!, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2007 Inscribing Meaning, National Museum of African Art, Washington D,C., Fowler Museum, Los Angeles USA
2007 The Loaded Lens, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2007 The Sneeze 80×80, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa*
2007 Apartheid: The South African Mirror, Center for Contemporary Culture, Barcelona, Spain
2007 _Sasol Wax Awards Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg and Iziko South African National Gallery,
Cape Town, South Africa*
Spier Contemporary Art Awards Spier Wine Estate, Cape Town and Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg
2007 Tapping Currents: Contemporary African Art and the Diaspora, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,
Kansas City, Missouri
2007 Désiréalités, Espace 1789, Paris, France
2006 Body of Evidence, National Museum of African Art, Washington DC
2006 Trienal de Luanda, Angola
2006 9th Bienal de Havana, Cuba
2006 Off the Record, Shiibuya Station, Tokyo
2005 Imagining the Book II, Library of Alkexandria, Egypt
2004 A Decade of Democracy, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2004 Insights, National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. USA
2004 Democracy X, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
2004 Visions of Paradise, João Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2004 The Performative in African Photography, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town
2004 Dak’Art, Biennale de Dakar, Senegal
2004 The Sneeze 80×80, Gallery Gazon Rouge, Athens, Greece
2004 New Identities: Contemporary South African Art, Museum Bochum, Germany
2004 Boustashy 01, El Max, Alexandria, Egypt
Brett Kebble Art Awards, International Convention Centre, Cape Town,
2004 _AIDS in the Age of Globalization, The National Museum of World Cultures, Gothenburg, Sweden
*2003*_Transferts_, Palais de Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2003 Co-existence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa, Rose Museum, Brandeis University,
Boston, USA
2003 Sexuality and Death: Aids in Contemporary African Art, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne,
2002-4 History/Now, Liljevachs Konsthalll, Stockholm; Museum of Work, Norrköping; Linköpings Art Centre;
Dunkers Culture Centre, Helsingborg; Sörlandets Art Museum, Kristiansand, Norway; Midlanda Art Centre,
Timrå/Sundsvall; Ronneby Art Centre, Sweden
2002 Africa Apart, New Society for the Visual Arts, Berlin, Germany
2002 Rencontres Video Arts Plastiques, Herouville Saint Clair, Normandy, France
International Media Art Festival, Mexico City, Mexico
2002 Head North: Work from the permanent collection of the South African National Gallery, Bildmuseet,
Umea, Sweden
2001-2The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1954-1994, Villa Stuck Museum,
Munich, Germany, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany, Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, USA
and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre, New York, USA
2001-3Dis/locations, Circulo de Bella Artes, PhotoEspana, Madrid, Spain, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain and
Forum de Maia, O’Porto, Portugal
2001 World Wide Video Festival, Baby Lounge, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2000 Mostra Africana de Arte Contemporaneo; Videobrasil Electronic Art International Festival, SESC, Sao
Paolo, Brazil*
2000 Archive 09.06_02.07, Quartair,The Hague, Netherlands
2000 Johannesburg ,Johannesburg, Openspace, Milan, Italy
2000 Emotional Geographies: re-imaging the past in post-apartheid narrative, Las Palmas Building, Rhine
Harbour, Foto Biennale Rotterdam, Netherlands
2000 The New Republics, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Australia
2000 Secure the Future, Exhibition Centre, Durban South Africa and Harvard University, Boston, USA
1999 Artery – Goodman Gallery artists at Joao Ferreira Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
1999 <>Fast Forward.za_, Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn. Netherlands
*1999*_Fotofest Five South African Artists, Houston, USA
1999-2002 Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa, Museum for African Art, New York, Museum
of Art, Austin, Texas, Stanford University, California, University of Arizona, USA
1998 Les Arts de la Resistance: Exposition de Plasticiens d’Afrique du Sud, Galerie Michael Luneau, Nantes,
1998-9 Drome och Mollnar, Kulturhuset, Stockholm and Museum of Fine Art, Goteborg, Sweden
1997 Thirty Minutes, the Robben Island Visitors Block, Cape Town,
1997 The District Six Outdoor Sculpture Project, Cape Town
1997 Alternating Currents, 2nd Johannesburg Biennale Electric Workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa
1996 Colours, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
1996 Simunye, Adelson Gallery, New York, USA
1996 Insight: Four Artists from South Africa, Wright Gallery, New York. USA
1996 Panoramas of Passage, Meridien International Centre, Washington DC
1995 Ku(n)stlijn, Hoorn, Netherlands*
1995 Objects of Defiance, Spaces of Contemplation, 1st Johannesburg Biennale, MuseumAfrica,
Johannesburg, South Africa
1995 Kunst Heimat Kunst, Kunstlerhaus, Steirischer Herbst Festival of Contemporary Art, Graz. Austria
1994 Vita Art Now Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1994 Trackings, Art First, London, UK
1993 Incroci del Sud, Fondazione Levi, Venice. XLV Venice Biennale, and Sala Uno, Rome, Italy and Stedelijk
Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1993 The Art of Protest, Benton Gallery, Southampton, N.Y., USA
1992 9th Biennale of Sydney, Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
1992 4th Havana Biennale, National Museum of Art, Havana, Cuba
1992 Africa en America, Bayona Vigo and Santiago de Compostela, Spain
1991 Art and the Media, Gertrude Posel Gallery, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa*
1990 South African Mail: Messages from Inside, Soho Gallery, New York,
1989 Art/Images in Southern Africa, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden, and Nordic tour
1988 Detention without trial: 100 artists protest, Market Theatre Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1986 Commitment to Vision, Museum of Art, University of Oregon
1986 About Time: Images of South Africa Ping Pong Palace, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
1985 Tributaries, MuseumAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa, and German tour
1982 Art Towards Social Development, Culture and Resistance Festival, National Museum and Art Gallery, Gaborone, Botswana

Teaching, Lectureships and Workshop

2009 Text in Landscape Workshop, National Gallery of Art, Harare, Zimbabwe
2003-5 Crossroads Street Signs, a Public Eye Project, Crossroads, Cape Town, South Africa
1986 Papermaking and linocutting Workshop, Khorixas Community Centre, Namibia

Professional Appointments and Consultation

2013 Guest curator Sommerakademie Paul Klee Zentrum, Bern
2008 Consulting curator, ZA Young Art From South Africa, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena
1999 Founder member of arts organisation, Public Eye, Cape Town, South Africa
1997 Founding editor
1991-1992 Chairperson of the Visual Arts Group, Cultural Workers Congress, Cape Town, South Africa

Conference and Workshop Participation

2014 On Time: African Art and the Question of Temporality, The Clark Institute, Williamstown, Mass.
2011 Conversation amongst Friends, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2008 The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End, Panelist, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York USA
2007 Inscribing Meaning, Panelist, Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, USA
2005 Young Artists’ Project Seminar Panelist, KZNSA, Durban, South Africa
2005 Imagining the Book Biennale, Panelist, Library of Alexandria, Egypt
2002 Who defines the Contemporary Biennials and the Global Art World?,
Panelist. Sackler Museum, Smithsonian International Art Museums, Washington D.C. USA
2002 Beyond the Gallery: Art in Public Spaces, Conference director, Cape Technikon, Cape Town, South
2002 Workshop on Cultural Management for Artists, Guest speaker, Hotel Paz, Lujan, Argentina
2001 Fact and Fiction in Post Authoritarian Societies, Guest speaker, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
2001 Places and Spaces of Art in Gender Perspective, Panelist, University of Bielefeld, Germany
2001 The Short Century: Artists Talks Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA
2000 State of the Visual Arts in Africa and the African Diaspora: An Agenda for the 21st Century, Panelist,
Ecole de Beaux Arts, Paris, France
1991 Arts Weekend: Nadine Gordimer, Wally Serote, Sue Williamson and Malangatana, Waterford Kamhlaba
School, Swaziland
1986 Women’s Caucus for Art Annual Conference: Liberty and the Pursuit of Liberty, Panelist, NYU, New York,
1986 Apartheid South Africa: the Role of Art in the Struggle, Guest speaker, Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New
Mexico, USA

Awards and Merits

2011 Bellagio Creative Arta Fellowship, Italy, Rockefeller Foundation
2007 Visual Artist Research Award Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
2007 Goodman Gallery Award, Johannesburg, South Africa
2005 Lucas Artists Residency Fellowship. Montalvo Art Center, California
2005 Brett Kebble Art Awards, major award, Cape Town, South Africa
1994 Vita Art Now Award, Overall winner, Johannesburg Art Gallery

Academic Record and Residencies


2009 10th Havana Biennial, Cojimar, Cuba
2007 National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. USA
2007 Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, New York, USA
2005 Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, California,USA
2003 Boustashy 01, Urban Scenographies, Alexandria, Egypt
1999 International Center for Printmaking, Rutgers University, N.J., USA
1995 Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1990 Editha Morris Foundation, Paris, France

1984 Advanced diploma (fine art) Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
1967-9 Art Students League of New York, New York, USA



Tate Gallery, London, UK
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
Walther Collection, Ulm, Germany
The Daimler Collection, Berlin, Germany
Zeitz Collection, Segera, Kenya
Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Museum of the 21st Century, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
Newark Museum, New Jersey, USA
Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, USA
Sir Elton John Photography Collection, Atlanta, USA
CAL Foundation, Hoorn, Netherlands
North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, USA
Sindika Dokolo African Collection of Contemporary Art, Luanda, Angola.
Wellesley College, Massachusetts, USA
Wifredo Lam Centre, Havana, Cuba
Wheaton College, Norton, MA, USA

South Africa

BHP Billiton, Johannesburg
BMD Knitting Mills, Cape Town
Brenthurst Library, Johannesburg
Cape Provincial Library, Cape Town
Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg
District Six Museum, Cape Town
Durban Art Gallery, Durban
ETV, Johannesburg
Gauteng Legislature, Johannesburg
Houses of Parliament, Cape Town
Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg
King George VI Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth
MTN Art Institute, Johannesburg
Museum of Art, Pretoria,
MuseuMAfrica, Johannesburg
Natal Technikon, Durban
Old Mutual, Cape Town
South African Broadcasting Corporation, Johannesburg
SA Breweries, Cape Town
Sandton Museum, Gauteng
Sasol, Johannesburg
Spier Wine Estate, Cape Town
Standard Bank, Johannesburg
Tatham Gallery, Pietermaritzburg
Tokara Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
United States Embassy, Cape Town
United States Embassy, Johannesburg
University of Cape Town, Cape Town
University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch
University of the Western Cape, Cape Town
University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa

Selected Articles and Reviews

2009 De la Hoz, P, Sue Williamson at the vortex of reality, in Granma, Havana, Cuba, April 3
2006 Pollack, B, Sue Williamson in Contemporary magazine (cover story) p. 34-37 No. 86
2005 Miller, K, ‘Trauma, Testimony and Truth: Contemporary South African Artists Speak African Arts p40 – 51 (Volume XXXVIII – Number 3)

Books Authored

2009 South African Art Now, Publishers: HarperCollins New York, Jacana Media, South Africa (now also to be
turned into an e-book)
1996 Jamal, A, Art in South Africa: the Future Present, David Philip Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa
1989 Resistance Art in South Africa 1989 David Philip Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa, St Martins Press, New York USA and CIIR, UK, Republished 2004, Double Storey Books, Cape Town, South Africa,


2005 Sue Williamson Plasticienne, Les Carnets de la Création, Editions de l’Oeil, France
2003 Sue Williamson: Selected Work, Double Storey Publishers Cape Town, South Africa, in association with the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, Belgium and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Artworks in the SAFFCA Collection