Asanda Kupa

February 2018

Asanda Kupa (b.1981, Molteno, South Africa) currently lives and works in Johannesburg. He holds an NDip in Fine Art from Walter Sisulu University and a BTech degree from Tshwane University of Technology. In 2010, he received the Ann Bryant Young Artist of the Year Award, and in 2013, he was the recipient of the Reinhold Cassirer Award. His works are included in a number of important South African collections, including The Southern African Foundation for Contemporary Art. Kupa’s work is grounded by the experiences of those forced to the periphery of ‘The New South Africa’; despite its great rebirth. Kupa’s scenes depict the chaos and energy of life for many of South Africa’s subjugated black population, a life that is defined by struggle and by lack of access to basic resources. Kupa is concerned with how the new political regime has failed its people – the very people who brought it to power through their own sacrifice – whilst also celebrating the self-determining spirit that marks a long history of civic action. Protest, spurred by grassroots community frustration, is a central theme of his work. His series of striking crowd scenes, inspired by the Marikana mine-worker massacre of 2012, shows militant action not only as an expression of fury, but also a place of refuge and hope in post-apartheid South Africa.

Recent Activities

Investec Cape Town Art Fair
The Southern African Foundation For Contemporary Art
Reinhold Cassirer Award, South Africa
Joburg Fringe Art Fair, Johannesburg
Thami Mnyele Art Competion Exhibition, Johannesburg
Albany Museum, National Arts Festival, Eastern Cape, South Africa
‘Urgency’, Bag Factory, Johannesburg


Asanda Kupa’s work celebrates the self-determining spirit that marks civic action, protest and occupation, influenced by grassroots community movement and unity, central to the work. This particular series is not immune, the effect of foreign experience and observation resulted to a mass of murky yet dynamic forms that vividly express movement, and atmosphere. In this work, dense, moody landscapes are also haunted scenes; the figures are anonymous, yet brim with emotion and color.