The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection

Athi-Patra Ruga

Athi-Patra Ruga (born 1984) is a South African artist who uses performance, video, textiles, and printmaking to explore notions of utopia and dystopia, material and memory. His work explores the body in relation to sensuality, culture, and ideology, often creating cultural hybrids. Themes such as sexuality, HIV/AIDS, African culture, and the place of queerness within post-apartheid South Africa also permeate his work.

Selected Solo Exhibitions


iiNyanga Zonyaka, Norval Foundation, Cape Town

Interior/Exterior / Dramatis Personae


Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions, Somerset House, London

Things We Lost In The Rainbow, Performance (in collaboration with The Institute of Creative Arts), Cape Town

2017 Queens in Exile

2014-2017 - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town

2016 Athi-Patra Ruga, Bass Museum of Art, Miami

2015 A Land Without A People… For A People Without A Land, In Situ, Paris

The Elder of Azania, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

2014 The Future White Women of Azania Saga - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town

2012 Ilulwane, Solo Presentation at Long Street Baths, Cape Town

2011 Ilulwane Performa 11, New York City, New York

2010 Teeth are the Only Bones that Show, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town

Athi Patra Ruga: The Works, FRED Gallery, London, England

The Body In Question IV: La Momma Morta, YOUNG BLACKMAN, Cape Town


After He Left, YOUNG BLACKMAN, Cape Town

Mister Floating Signifier and the Deadboyz, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town

2008 ..of bugchasers and watusi faghags, Art Extra, Johannesburg

Selected Group Exhibitions


Matereality, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town

Pretty Gucci Gorilla, with Kader Attia, Eternal Gallery, Tours, France

Lumieres D’Afrique, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg


Crossing Night: Regional Identities x Global Context, MOCAD (The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit), Michigan

Radical Love, Ford Foundation, New York

Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas

Not What You Want To See, Factoria Habana, Havana Biennale, Havana

Kiss My Gender, Hayward Gallery, London

2018 The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum, Moscow

Embodied Politic, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago

Continental Drift, Cairns Art Gallery, Australia

Dress Up, Speak Up: Costume and Confrontation, 21c, Louisville

Ravelled Threads, Sean Kelly Gallery, Seattle

CLOSE, Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), Johannesburg

Africa State of Mind, New Art Exchange, Nottingham

Soft Power, Transpallete Center for contemporary Art, Bourges, France


Everyday Anomaly - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town

Art Afrique, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris

Dada Africa, Non-Western Sources and Influences, Musee de Orsay, Paris

Afrotopia, Les Rencontres de Bamako, Bamako, Mali

The BEATification of Feral Benga, Nordwind Performance festival, Berlin, Germany


Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community, Boston Centre for the Arts, Boston

Women's Work, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town

An Age of Our Own Making, Holbaek, Denmark


Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain

Studio: The Lives and Works of South African Artists, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town

Foreign Bodies - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town

Queer Threads, Leslie & Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York

Lumières d'Afriques, Theatre National De Chaillot, Paris

Broken English, Tyburn Gallery, London

2015 Joburg Art Fair - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg

AFRICA: Architecture, Culture and Identity, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Louisiana

The Film Will Always Be You: South African Artists on Screen, Tate Modern, London

The Elder of Azania, Solo Performance at the Johannesburg Pavilion, 56th La Biennale di Venezia, Venice


PRÓXIMO FUTURO / NEXT FUTURE, Programa Gulbenkian de Cultura Contemporânea, Lisbon, Portugal

African Odysseys, The Brass Artscape, Brussels

Uncertain Terms - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town


rave New World...20 Years of Democracy, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town

Public Intimacy, SFMOMA, San Francisco


Films for Peace , Screened Worldwide including South Africa, Paris, London, New York, Sydney

Sharp Sharp, Johannesburg, Gaite Lyrique, Paris

The Beautyful Ones, Galerie Nolan Judin, Berlin

Imaginary Fact, 55th La Biennale di Venezia, South African Pavillion, Venice

Between the Lines, Braunschweig University of Art, Berlin

Making Way: Contemporary Art from South Africa and China, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg


Making Way, in collaboration with Mikhael Subotzky, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

A SHOT IN THE ARSE, The Michaelis Gallery, Cape Town

Neither Man Nor Stone, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town

Under a Tinsel Sun, The III Moscow International Biennale For Young Art, Moscow, Russia


BECOMING: Photographs from the Wedge Collection, Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina, USA

A Tribute to Photography, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy

Living as Form Exhibition, New York


X HOMES, Performance Art Series, Johannesburg

Africa, Assume Art Position, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy

From Pierneef to Gugulective, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town

DADA South?, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town

For Those Who Live in It - Pop culture Politics and Strong Voices, MU Foundation, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

2009 A Life Less Ordinary; Performance and Display in South African Art, Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, UK

Beauty and Pleasure in Contemporary South African Art, Stenersen Museet, Oslo, Norway

Infecting the City, Cape Town CBD

Spot on Dak’Art


Retrospective, IFA Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Pret a Partager (More than the sum of its parts), IFA Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany

Big Wednesday, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town

2008 Peripheral Vision and Collective Body, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bolzano, Italy

Disguise: The Art of Attracting and Deflecting Attention, Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town

Upstairs/Downstairs, Association of Visual Arts, Cape Town

The Trickster, Art Extra, Johannesburg