Santu Mofokeng is regarded as one of the most important and influential African photographers living today.
Santu Mofokeng (born in 1956 in Johannesburg) started taking pictures in the early '80s. After a short period as a street photographer and some jobs in dark rooms of newspapers, he completed his first photographic essay in 1986, entitled Train Church. Mofokeng focuses on capturing the aspects that dominate the daily life of the blacks in South Africa, like the experience of commuting and the pervasiveness of spirituality.
Mofokeng's photo-essays (some of which are still on-going and have been for years) highlight a range of different issues and topics: the Soweto of the artist's youth, his studies of quotidian life on farms and in townships, with a special focus on self-representation and family histories of the black South Africans, and pictures, which betray a concern with religious rituals and typologies of landscapes. Santu Mofokeng stretches the use of the word landscape to its fullest in order to invoke literal, colloquial, psychological, philosophical, mystical, metaphysical and metonymic meanings and applications.
He participated in Documenta 11 (2002) and the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007). He was a member of the Afrapix Collective (1985 – 1991), which became well known for documenting the battle against Apartheid. He also was a photography researcher for the African Studies Institute (ASI) in Johannesburg for almost ten years and received a fellowship to study at the International Center of Photography in New York. Mofokeng received a DAAD artist-in-residence in Germany and was laureate of the Prins Claus Award 2009.
Santu Mofokeng is guest at the Thami Mnyele Foundation in June and July 2012. Till the 29 July 2012 his work is visible in the exhibition "Santu Mofokeng Chasing Shadows – Thirty Years of Photographic Essay" organized by Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen and curated by Corinne Diserens.