Samson Mnisi in Soweto

Samson Mnisi

Samson Mnisi also whose late name translates to “Rain maker”. Born in 1971 in Lesotho, Samson is a Soweto Based Artists, who studied Fine Art and photography at FUBA Academy. He has had numerous groups and solo exhibitions, locally and internationally.

He has also collaborated with many artists around the world across various disciplines of Art, and his works are in local and international collections. Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa (SA) and Brooklyn, The United States of America (USA).
Samson Sowetan based artist who has a studio at the heart of White City. It’s not common that you find artist  that turn  their homes into artist studio. As soon as you enter Samson studio, you are injected with excitement and inspiration at the same time. This artist who has exhibited aboard has will be hosting his 2nd solo exhibition in Soweto and we are honored to host him for our May exhibition.

His art is a symbolic language of an abstract thought. He uses patterns, lines, symbols and color to find a contemporary South African expression. He sees himself as part of the timeless tradition of celebrating the human godliness from the first rock painting, to the present time and beyond. He’s interested in using art as another element of alchemy. Where through it you can evoke and even heal certain emotions.

In my work I am finding a new interpretation for an old language.

Because of our colonial history, we have struggled to interpret ourselves even in post-colonial times. Can the mind be decolonised ? It is in pre-colonial times that we can really find the true reflection of ourselves. But those moments are far gone, and  in most cases look like mambo jumbo because of the nature of the colonial education. The purpose of art making in that historical context, reflected the religion, culture and philosophy of that time. I therefore believe that by honestly looking at our history in totality pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial times, we can truly understand where we are,  and how we should relate to the world and the future.” – Samson Mnisi


Samson’s work builds up curiosity based on the patterns, lines and symbol, one can’t help it, but think about primitive art. His work is representative of Africa as a whole. Every time the viewer looks at his work there is always something new that one finds in the work. His work is also infused with modern patterns that you may have seen in various traditional African fabrics.

Selected Collections and Patronage
Austin Museum of Art, BMW, FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists), Joburg Art Gallery
Rand Merchant Bank, Vodacom, Spier Wines, Museum Africa, Johannesburg, Museum for African Art, New York Vassar College, Yale University, Chris Angell, Wayne Barker, Debs Burki, Jeffrey Burki, David Cudaback, Simphiwe Dana, Martin Deutsch, Jim Figura, Tommy Figura, Joachim Esteve, Francis Ferguson, Tunde Giwa, John Hersey, Ann Hersey, Diane Hersey, Rose Klabin, Ed Leffingwell, Gerard Malanga, Thandiswa Mazwai, Zanele Mbeki, Diane Milheiser, Ross Milheiser
William O’Neill, Marylin Oshman, Patricia Patton, Bud and Betsy Schulberg, Mongane Wally Serote, Lois Stark, Liz Thomson, Patricia Thrane, Barbra Wertkins

Solo Exhibition

2012 – “Paper Vision – Imbono” at Arts on Main Johannesburg

2010 – “Masks” at Arts on Main Johannesburg

2007 –  “Rituals Past and Present,” Line Gallery, presented by the

Troyeville Arts Initiative, Johannesburg SA

2006 – “Dreaming White City,” Salomon Arts, New York City, USA

2006 – “Rain Dance,” Pretoria Gallery, SA
2006 – “Samson Mnisi,” Gerard Sekoto Gallery, Alliance Francais, Johannesburg, SA
2005 – “One Man Show,” curated by Carol Hacker, Bamboo Gallery,

Johannesburg, SA.
2005 – “Solo Show,” Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, SA.
2004 – “Solo Exhibition,” curated by Carol Hacker, Firs of Rosebank,

Johannesburg, SA.
2003 – “Street Life,” Museum Africa, Johannesburg, SA.
2001 – “Hot Caviar Dogs,” Chashama Theatre, Time Square, New York,
2000 – “Path=+,” CPC SA, presented by CrossPathCulture, Johannesburg,
1999 – “De’ametis,” Saint-Leu, Alliance Francais, Reunion Island.
1996 – “Samson at the Corner,” Market Theatre Gallery, Johannesburg, SA.

Two Man Shows
2008 – “No. 1, Art + Commerce,” 55 Central Park West, Samson Mnisi +

Cannon Hersey. New York City, USA
2007 – “Two Dogs,” Samson Mnisi + Cannon Hersey, Daniel Sandoval

Contemporary, presented in affiliation with Texas Collaborative Arts, Houston, USA.
2007  – “Ntjapedi,” Samson Mnisi + Cannon Hersey, Daniel Sandoval

Contemporary, Brooklyn, USA
2007 – “Light the Metropolitan Exchange,” Samson Mnisi + Cannon Hersey, presented in affiliation

with AlAtarra, Brooklyn, USA
2007 – “Here, There and Everywhere,” Gallery 384, Cannon Hersey + Samson Mnisi, Catskill, USA.
2005 – “Free Spirits,” Afronova, Samson Mnisi + Gera Mawi Mazgabu, Johannesburg, SA.
2002 – “Gurus and Lovers,” CACBN, Samson Mnisi + Wayne Barker,

Herouville-Saint Claire France
2002 – “Mirror Visions,” Lincoln Centre of Performing Arts, Walter Reade Theatre, Samson Mnisi +

Cannon Hersey, presented by the African Film Festival New York, New York City, USA
2002 – “Presidential Award ceremony for Nelson Mandela Exhibition,” New York University Library,

Samson Mnisi + Cannon Hersey, New York City, USA
1997 – “B(l)ack in Town,” Samson Mnisi + Clifford Charles
1995 – “Two man show,” Johannesburg Art Foundation, Samson Mnisi +

Clifford Charles, Johannesburg, SA.
Group Exhibitions
2007 – “Double 07,” Polokwane Art Museum, group show with David Koloane, Sam Nhlengthwa and Wayne Barker, Polokwane, SA.

2006 – “Works on Paper,” Salomon Arts, Samson Mnisi, Juan Suarez

Sanchez, New York City, USA
2006 – “The Famous Five,” Johannesburg, SA.
2004 – “The Famous Five,” Pietersburg, SA.
2003  – “Paper for Paper 2,” Sundharam Tagore Gallery, presented by

CrossPathCulture, New York, USA.
2002 – “Paper for Paper,” CrossPathCulture, 50th street between 6th and 7th Ave. Samson Mnisi,

Jay Milder, Cannon Hersey, Gerard Pas, Saatch Hoyt, Rudzani Nemasetoni, Jorge Salazar,

Mihail, John Hersey, Peter Bradley, and Dinkies Sithole, presented by

CrossPathCulture, New York City, USA.
2001 – “Frank,” Samson Mnisi, Clifford Charles and Sandile Zulu, Millenium

Gallery, Johannesburg, SA.
2001 – “Cross+Overs,” Inner city workshop and exhibition, co-directed with Cannon Hersey, presented by CrossPathCulture, Johannesburg, SA.

2000 – “Jumpstart, 2000,” Johannesburg Art Foundation, Samson Mnisi, John Hersey and Cannon Hersey, Johannesburg, SA.

1999 – “Liberated Voices, New Work from a New South Africa,” Norman

Katherine, Sandile Zulu, Thabiso Phokompe, Museum of African art, Berkley University,

Austin Museum of Fine Art
1996 – “Art Attack,” Rembrandt Van Rijn Gallery, Johannesburg, SA.
1995  – “Artist Proof Studio Exhibition,” Rembrandt Van Rijn Gallery, Johannesburg, SA.
1993 – ICA Workshop Gallery, Johannesburg, SA
1992 – “Land & Life Exhibition,” Pretoria Museum of Art, African Cultural Centre, Pretoria, SA.

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