(1976 – )

Mustafa Maluka

Born in 1967 in Cape Town, South African artist Mustafa Maluka studied at the De Ateliers, Post-Graduate Art Institute in Amsterdam, and at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam.  He has lived in Amsterdam, Berlin, and New York.

  Maluka describes himself as a “bio-artist, cultural analyst, ethical hacker, global citizen, and Ph.D. dropout”. However, he is perhaps most celebrated for his large-scale portraits with bold expressions that expose profound and collective truths regarding survival and confrontation. Drawing inspiration from his family’s forceful displacement during Apartheid and his childhood growing up in the Cape Flats, Maluka explores themes of migration and human emotion, and occasions of overlap with the worlds of fashion and popular culture. To discuss the erasure of immigrant identities, he paints his portraits with a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty, suggesting a transnational identity.

 Maluka writes about his work:

“I am my main subject. I change so much so fast.

I can’t stay on one angle all the time. My perspectives change the more I learn, read and come in touch with people.

I think what I’m looking for is the “in between”.

Sometimes race, sometimes sex, sometimes culture, sometimes not about that at all, sometimes about class and identity.

An identity which defies the usual specificity prescribed by geographic and cultural borders. 

Basically the multidimensionality of the human experience.”

 Maluka has participated in numerous exhibitions around the world including in New York, Hawaii, and The Netherlands. He currently lives in Turku, Finland.


Born in Cape Town, South Africa
Lives and works in Finland


Graphic design, Peninsula Technikon, Cape Town, South Africa

De Ateliers, Post-graduate Art Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

PhD Candidate in Cultural Analysis, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam



Sunny Side Up, Group Exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa


New Day, Group exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa

Salutogenesis, Maksiini Contemporary, Turku, Finland

Chiasmus, Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, Luxembourg

Disembedded, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen

Structural Disbelief : an imposition, Zidoun Gallery, Luxembourg

Normative Positioning, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Dialectical Continuum, Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland

Mikael Andersen Gallery

Cognitive Ruptures: imagined communities and the multiculturalism of fear, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Berlin, Germany

Identity Loss Syndrome, Galerie Bertrand & Gruner, Art Dubai, UAE

Art Dubai, Galerie Bertrand & Gruner, Dubai, UAE

Discourse in Translation: a pragmadialectical analysis, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen

A Place so Foreign, Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, USA

The Rhetoric of Sincerity / The Sincerity of Rhetoric, Galerie Bertrand & Gruner, Geneva, Switzerland

Reflexive Indices: a phenomenological study, Galerie Bertrand & Gruner, Geneva, Switzerland

The Interview (a transcript), Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa 

Accented Living: a rough guide, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town

Bad for Your Health/Wrong Colour, Virtual Museum of Contemporary African Art

The Realness, Galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Hard Living (an ethnomethodological approach), De Ateliers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Maluka 2000, de Twee Wezen, Enkhuizen, The Netherlands

The (unstoppable)rapist, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town, South Africa 

1997 Melanin Millennium, Mau-Mau Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Group Exhibitions

Untitled Art, Makasiini Contemporary, Miami FL, USA

GMA XXX AAR, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, Denmark 2018 About Face, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa 

Both, and, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

Summer Show, Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland 

You Love Me, You Love Me Not, Municipal Gallery, Porto, Portugal 

Us Is Them, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH, USA

African Contemporary Art, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen 

Ici l’Afrique/Here Africa, Château de Penthes, Geneva, Switzerland 

ArtGenève13 Art Fair, Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland

Flying, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany

Portraits : Cabinet de curiosités, Galerie Bertrand and Gruner, Geneva, Switzerland

ACCROCHAGE, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Mikael Andersen Gallery

Hope-a-Holic, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, New York, USA

Inside Out, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Berlin

Flow, Studio Museum Harlem, New York

World Histories, Des Moines Art Centre, Iowa

The Message, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Berlin, Germany

Common Affairs, Steirischer Herbst 2008, Graz, Austria

Summer 2007/8, Michael Stevenson , Cape Town, South Africa

In your face, galerie bertrand & gruner, Geneva, Switzerland

South African art now, Michael Stevenson , Cape Town, South Africa

South African art now, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town

Sao Paulo Bienal, Sao Paulo

Artists at Glenfiddich 06, The Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Scotland

Nie Meer, De Warande, Turnhout, Belgium

New Painting, KZNSA Gallery, Durban; Unisa Gallery, Pretoria; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

De Grote Oversteek, Stedelijk Museum Zwolle, Zwolle, The Netherlands

Personal Affects: Power and poetics in contemporary South African art, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Chimaera, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, USA

d’Afrique, d’Asie, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York, USA

[R][R][F]2005—>XP, Hilchot Shehenim, Israeli Digital Art Lab, Holon, Israel

Images Festival, Toronto, Canada

BASICS Festival, Salzburg, Austria

Personal Affects: Power and poetics in contemporary South African art, Museum for African Art and the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, USA

Invisible Networks, Version’04 Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

[R][R][F] 2005—>XP, National Museum of Contemporary Art/Kalinderu MediaLab, Bucaresti, Romania

Bergen Electronic Arts Centre, Bergen, Norway

New Media Art Festival, Bangkok, Thailand

BASICS Festival, Salzburg, Austria

Split International Film Festival, Split, Croatia

PEAM 2004, Pescara Electronic Art Meeting, Pescara, Italy

Now Music Streaming Festival, Berlin, Germany

VI Salon Y Coloquio Internacional de Arte Digital, Havana, Cuba

public_media_ space Festival, Yerewan, Armenia

West Coast Numusic & Electronic Arts Festival, Stavanger, Norway

Biennale of Electronic Art, Perth, Australia

International Short Film Festival, Nuremberg, Germany

Orilla’04, 1st International Exhibition of Digital Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, Argentina

West 404 – Festival of Electronic Art, Rosario, Argentina

FILE – Electronic Language Festival, SESI Art Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Internet Live Streaming “Endlosfilm”, University of Bremen, Germany

OUTVIDEO, Ekaterinburg, Russia

Guess Who, Stedelijk Museum Zwolle, Zwolle, The Netherlands

Afrika Hier en Nu, Centrum Beeldende Kust, Emmen, The Netherlands 

The 4th Biennale of the Pan-African Circle of Artists Lagos, Nigeria

Crossing Boundaries and Frontiers, Centre Soleil d’Afrique, Bamako, Mali

Interactive Arts Festival.01, Kwang Fong Gallery, California Lutheran University, Los Angeles, USA

(W)interface, Galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Portrait Africa, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Staking Claims, The Granary, Cape Town, South Africa

Project Conflux, Luxembourg/Cape Town/Paris

Postcards from South Africa, Axis Gallery, New York, USA

Oos Wes Tuis Bes, Oudtshoorn, South Africa

Childhood, Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, South Africa

!Xoe site-specific, Ibis Art Centre, Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa


Burger Collection, Hong Kong

Jimenez-Colon Collection, Puerto Rico

Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis, Tunisia North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh,

USA Sindika Dokolo Foundation, Luanda, Angola Pizzuti Collection, Miami,

Columbus, USA Terrana Collection, New York 

North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina

Terrana Collection, New York


Artists in Residence at Glenfiddich, Dufftown, Scotland

Art Omi International Artists Residency, New York, USA

Tollman Award for the Visual Arts

Thami Mnyele Foundation, residency, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Robben Island Museum, residency, Cape Town, South Africa


Lyna Ahanda « Mustafa Maluka » , Vogue Italia Sarah Valdez, Art in America, “Review”, January 

Sue Williamson, “South African Art Now”, Ed. Collins
Laura Hoptman, “The Younger than Jesus Artist Directory”, Ed. Phaidon “200 top collectors”, ARTnews, Summer 2009 

Holland Cotter, “Art Review: Flow”, The New York Times, 4/4
Lauren Schuker, “Out Of Africa”, Wall Street Journal, 28/4
“Common Affairs”, exhibition catalogue, the Steirischer Herbst festival in Graz, Austria “Flow”, exhibition catalogue, Studio Museum Harlem 

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