Athi-Patra Ruga

Athi-Patra Ruga is one of the few artists working in South Africa today whose work has adopted the trope of myth as a contemporary response to the post-apartheid era. Ruga creates alternative identities and uses these avatars as a way to parody and critique the existing political and social status quo. Ruga’s artistic approach of creating myths and alternate realities is in some way an attempt to view the traumas of the last 200 years of colonial history from a place of detachment – at a farsighted distance where wounds can be contemplated outside of personalised grief and subjective defensiveness.

Significant exhibitions and performances are many and include: Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community, Boston Centre for the Arts, Boston; AFRICA: Imaginary Fact, South African Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale; African Odysseys, Brass Artscape in Brussels; Public Intimacy, SFMOMA, San Francisco; and Making Africa, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Ruga is also the co-founder of Victory of the Word, a fundraising and development project in support of the historic Lovedale Printing Press in Alice, Eastern Cape, as well as the Artistic Director of BODYLAND, an incubator residency for artists held in the Amathole Village, Hogsback.

Lives & Works

Cape Town, South Africa

Exhibited at

John Curtin Gallery for IOTA21

Acknowledgements & Funders

Athi-Patra Ruga is represented by WHATIFTHEWORLD gallery, Cape Town.