Deutsche Bank

Artist of the Year

Kemang Wa Lehulere is Deutsche Bank’s "Artist of the Year" 2017

South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulere is Deutsche Bank's new "Artist of the Year" 2017. He will present his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin in spring 2017.

Foto: Adam McConnachie © Kemang Wa Lehulere.

“Kemang Wa Lehulere is a refined artist of the highest order. He explores the relevance of the artistic gesture in post-Apartheid South Africa. In his wall drawings, collages, and complex performances, he revisits his own history and the pain of his society by creating poignant images that are never literal or explanatory, but are instead a territory to be traversed, understood, and revealed”, explains Victoria Noorthoorn, Director Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires.
The award is given on the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council which consists of the renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn. After Wangechi Mutu, Yto Barrada, Roman Ondák, Imran Qureshi, Victor Man, Koki Tanaka, and Basim Magdy, Kemang Wa Lehulere is now Deutsche Bank’s 8th international “Artist of the Year.
Kemang Wa Lehulere was born in 1984 in Cape Town, South Africa and lives in Johannesburg and Cape Town. He is perceived as one of the most important representatives of a new generation of South African artists who work in all different kinds of genres and media in order to develop new artistic perspectives and narrative modes, as well as new forms of political action. Wa Lehulere’s drawings combine allusions to the apartheid era in his home country South Africa and found pictorial material, personal memories, and texts.
His work echoes how traces of racism and injustice are blurred and ignored, revealing the gap between individual biography and official historiography.
He realizes his performances, videos, installations, and chalk drawings, which are based on extensive research, as a solo artist whilst continuing with collaborative work. This includes projects with the South African exhibition platform Center for Historical Reenactments which was established in 2010. From 2006, he worked with the Cape Town based artist group Gugulective, which he cofounded.

Wa Lehulere’s works often have a focus on black South African history, re-looking and re-imagining the archive of narratives relating to black artists, musicians and authors in an attempt to prevent their work and lives from sinking into oblivion. Thus, his exhibition History Will Break Your Heart, that is currently touring South Africa, recalls artists such as Gladys Mgudlandlu and Ernest Mancoba. The latter is regarded as the first modern black South African artist who cofounded the artist group CoBrA in the 1940s.

Kemang Wa Lehulere has taken part in numerous international group exhibitions, including the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), the 2nd Triennial of the New Museum in New York (2012), and the 11th Biennale de Lyon (2011). Back in 2013-14, drawings by the artist from the Deutsche Bank Collection were shown at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle as part of the exhibition project The Circle Walked Casually. In 2015, he received the Standard Bank Young Artist for the visual arts. Starting on April 16, his art will be represented at the EVA International in Limerick City, Ireland, and as of May 3 at the 12thDak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal.

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More on the "Artists of the Year"

Basim Magdy – "Artist of the Year" 2016


Basim Magdy (*1977 in Assiut, Egypt) is Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” 2016 and will present his first institutional solo exhibition at the  Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin next spring. His multifaceted oeuvre includes film, photography, slide projections, installations, and works on paper.

ArtMag: Permanent Presence: Basim Magdy

Koki Tanaka – "Artist of the Year" 2015


With “A Vulnerable Narrator”, the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle presentend the first solo show by Koki Tanaka in Europe. The Japanese artist references the history of “art activism” and views his work as a gentle yet sustainable approach to this movement. The exhibition, consisting of video installations, large scale photographs and drawings, is a laboratory of sorts, one that ties together a decade’s worth of projects, ideas, and documents.

ArtMag: A Methodology for the Future – Koki Tanaka’s art activism

5 Years Deutsche Bank "Artist of the Year"


After Wangechi Mutu (2010), Yto Barrada (2011), Roman Ondák (2012), and Imran Qureshi (2013), Victor Man is Deutsche Bank's fifth "Artist of the Year." The award is given on the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council, which consists of the renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn. The focus is on artists who have already amassed a substantial oeuvre and have blazed new trails both formally and in terms of content.


Victor Man – "Artist of the Year" 2014


With their choice of the Romanian artist, Deutsche Bank has selected one of the most interesting protagonists in the contemporary art scene. Victor Man exhibited his seemingly mysterious works in spring 2014 at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin.

ArtMag: Dark Metamorphoses – Victor Man Is Artist of the Year 2014

Imran Qureshi – "Artist of the Year" 2013


Deutsche Bank has selected Imran Qureshi, one of the most important figures on the contemporary Pakistani art scene, as its 2013 "Artist of the Year." Based on a recommendation from the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council, which includes internationally renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn, the bank is proud to honour an auspicious artist who addresses social issues in an individual way.

ArtMag: Violence, Beauty, Hope: Imran Qureshi is Deutsche Bank's "Artist of the Year" 2013

Roman Ondák – "Artist of the Year" 2012


Nomination of Roman Ondák to the Deutsche Bank "artist of the year 2012" during Frieze/London. From April to June 2012 the Deutsche Guggenheim was presenting a solo exhibition with his works.

ArtMag: Grammar of the Everyday: Notes on Roman Ondák

Yto Barrada – "Artist of the Year" 2011


Taking the situation in her home city of Tangier as a point of departure, the Moroccan artist reflects on constantly changing boundaries in culture, economics, and politics and on their repercussions. Following the premiere at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Barrada's solo show 'Riffs' will be on view at WIELS in Brussels from the end of September 2011.

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Wangechi Mutu – "Artist of the Year" 2010


Mutu, who has been living in New York for a long time, counters the notion of an “African” artist drawing from her native culture with images from multiple perspectives. Like many “diaspora artists,” she combines elements of her native culture with those of the West.

ArtMag: This Undreamt Descent: Wangechi Mutu in the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

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Last Update: 4.1.2017
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