Usha Seejarim was born in 1974 in Bethal, South Africa. Seejarim currently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Seejarim received a B-Tech Degree in Fine Art from the University of Johannesburg in 1999 and a Master's Degree in Fine Art at the University of The Witwatersrand (WITS) in 2008, both in Johannesburg, South Africa. Most recently, Seejarim's site-specific artwork, Sounds of Sibikwa was nominated for Design Indaba's Most Beautiful Object in South Africa award. Earlier awards include: the SCAC Marestaing & The Secular Solidarity Association Sculpture Award at the Dakar Biennale, Dakar, Senegal and the Tomorrow's/ Today Prize, at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa, both in 2018; the Mercedes-Benz Award for Public Art in 2008; the Ampersand Fellowship Award, New York City, USA in 2003 and the inaugural MTN New Contemporaries Exhibition Award (joint-winner) in 2001, Johannesburg, South Africa.Read More
Seejarim presented her solo exhibition Un balai, pourquoi pas une balai, following her 2 -month residency at SCAC Marestaing in Montesquieu-Volvestre, France in 2019. Further selected solo exhibitions include: Transgressing Power, at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2019; Keepers of the Common at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018; Reasons for descending the staircase at Fried Contemporary in Pretoria, South Africa in 2017; Venus at Home – a travelling exhibition presented at the Durban Art Gallery, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa; NWU Gallery at the Northwest University in Potchefstroom, South Africa; the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) in Johannesburg, South Africa and the Atherstone Gallery at National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa (2015-2012).
Group exhibitions include: 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House in London, UK; The Ampersand Foundation Award 21 years celebration exhibition curated by Gordon Froud at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) in 2019; WomanISM as part of the 12th OSTRALE Biennale for Contemporary Art, travelling at the Goethe Institute; Ausländerrat; Historic Tobacco Factory f6, Dresden, Germany in 2019; The Red Hour curated by Simon Njami, for the Dak'art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal in 2018; Twenty: Art in the Time of Democracy, a travelling exhibition, curated by Gordon Froud presented at the University of Johannesburg in Johannesburg, South Africa; Turchin Centre in Boone, USA and the Beijing Biennale in Beijing, China in 2015; Where do we migrate to? at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, USA in 2011, Another World, curated by Simon Njami for the 6th African Encounters of Photography in Bamako, Mali in 2005; Fresh in 2001 and Isinto, curated by Tumelo Mosaka and Zayd Minty, in 1999 at IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
Seejarim has completed numerous public commissions namely: the public portrait for Nelson Mandela's funeral in Qunu, South Africa in 2013; Figures Representing Articles From The Freedom Charter in 2008 in, Soweto, South Africa; and an artwork for the facade of the South African Chancery in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2008, amongst others.
Seejarim's work forms part of public and private collections such as the Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG), Cape Town, South Africa; the South African Foundation For Contemporary Art (SAFFCA), South Africa; the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), Johannesburg, South Africa and the Fondazione Fiera Milan, Milan, Italy among others.
Seejarim's work is currently included in the group exhibition Matereality, at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa as well as SMAC Gallery's group presentation at the 2020 Investec Cape Town Art Fair at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town, South Africa in 2020.
Text courtesy SMAC Gallery.
In this episode of SMAC Gallery's podcast, Nkgopoleng Moloi speaks to [Usha Seejarim] about her interest in labour and gender in her art-making, as well as the dynamics of her social practice.