Kapwani Kiwanga will represent Canada at the 60th Venice Biennale in 2024. The Paris-based artist works with sound, film, performance, and objects, conducting extensive research to transform raw information into investigations of historical narratives and their impact on political, social, and community formation.Read More
Kapwani Kiwanga was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and grew up in Hamilton and in the nearby Brantford.
Kiwanga studied anthropology and comparative religion at McGill University in Montreal. She has also studied art through the 'La Seine' programme at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Kiwanga's work focuses on sites specific to Africa and the African diaspora, examining how certain events expand and unfold into popular and folk narratives, and revealing how these stories take shape in objects and oral histories.
In conversation with Brienne Walsh for Ocula Magazine, Kiwanga described her formative years in multicultural Canada as having a significant influence on her work, stating 'It informed my idea of multiple perspectives, and challenged a hegemonic, Eurocentric kind of discourse.
Trained as an anthropologist, Kiwanga performs this role in her artistic practice, using historical information to construct narratives about groups of people. She is not only invested in the past but also the future, telling Afrofuturist stories and creating speculative dossiers from future civilisations to reflect on the impact of historical events.
In 2022, Kiwanga was the recipient of the Zurich Art Prize. In 2020, her installation Flowers for Africa won the 20th edition of the Prix Marcel Duchamp.
She was also the winner of the inaugural Frieze Artist Award (2018) and the Sobey Art Award (2018).
Kiwanga was artist-in-residence at the MU Foundation in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and at the Box in Bourges, France.
Kiwanga has presented solo exhibitions at major institutions and galleries worldwide, including the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; New Museum, New York; State of Concept, Athens; Moody Center for the Arts, Houston; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Kunsthaus Pasquart, Bienne; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, U.S.; Esker Foundation, Calgary; Power Plant, Toronto; Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago; South London Gallery, London; and Jeu de Paume, Paris, among others.
In 2023, the National Gallery of Canada announced that Kiwanga will represent Canada at the 2024 Venice Biennale.
Ocula | 2023