Biennale of Sydney

Musa N Nxumalo

Musa N. Nxumalo_Moonchild Sanelly -Anthopology of Youth_2016_Giclee Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag_56 x 84 cm_Ed.1 of 6 + 2 AP_HR_Image courtesy of SMAC Gallery, artwork copyright Musa N. Nxumalo

Musa N. Nxumalo

Born 1986 in Soweto, South Africa
Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa


Musa N. Nxumalo received his introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, along with Sabelo Mlangeni and the late Thabiso Sekgala who together are often associated with the new generation of contemporary South African photographers. He completed the Foundation and Intermediate Courses at Market Photo Workshop between 2006 and 2008, and has since participated in several workshops and master classes. In 2015, he was nominated for the prestigious First Book Award by the African Literature Association. Other awards he has received include the Edward Ruiz Mentorship in 2008, second prize at the MTN CITY Festival in 2009 and first prize in Visual Art at the ImpACT Awards, South Africa in 2010.

Musa N. Nxumalo’s ongoing project, The Anthology of Youth, is marked by a convergence of twin concerns that Nxumalo has been exploring over the recent years – revolving around the idea of the photographer and his medium as both author and witness. Nxumalo has been steadily developing a unique visual vocabulary that delicately balances his interests in social documentary and fine art photography. To this end, he astutely employs the black and white ‘film’ construct in images that courageously consider and capture the appearances and experiences of contemporary black South African youth. This results in a photographic oeuvre that oscillates between great empathetic intimacy and journalistic distance with unmissable humanity.

The Anthology of Youth is more than just a collection of impressions and appearances. It is a call to the viewer to look for messages, clues or opportunities that enable them to see something beyond a first assumption. These are photographs that bear witness to the mighty impulses that enabled Nxumalo to give us a closer view of life’s vital forces 

Percy Mabandu.

Exhibited Artwork

Musa N Nxumalo, Moonchild Sanelly – Anthology of Youth, 2017, giclée print. Courtesy the artist and SMAC Gallery, Cape Town / Johannesburg / Stellenbosch. Presentation at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney was made possible with generous assistance from the Sherman Foundation

Photograph: Musa N. Nxumalo_Moonchild Sanelly -Anthopology of Youth_2016_Giclee Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag_56 x 84 cm_Ed.1 of 6 + 2 AP_HR_Image courtesy of SMAC Gallery, artwork copyright Musa N. Nxumalo

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Musa N Nxumalo, Are the fees gonna fall or nah?, 2017, giclée print. Courtesy the artist and SMAC Gallery, Cape Town / Johannesburg / Stellenbosch. Presentation at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney was made possible with generous assistance from the Sherman Foundation

Photograph: Musa N Nxumalo, Are the fees gonna fall or nah?, 2017, giclée print, dimensions variable Courtesy the artist and SMAC Gallery, Cape Town / Johannesburg / Stellenbosch.

Location: Art Gallery of New South Wales