George Mahashe

Lecturer – New Media

Born 1982 in Bolobedu, South Africa, Mahashe operates within the wider field of photography, particularly at the intersection of anthropology, archives and artistic practice. He is currently working on ‘––defunct context’, a series of interventions emanating from his contemplations on the Anthropology Museum at the University of Witwatersrand. Mahashe holds a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town where he lectures as part of the Michaelis School of Fine Art. At Michaelis he will expand the ‘––defunct context’ within the context of  Centre for Curating the Archive, particularly the Honours in Curatorship Program.

His current projects include Camera Obscura #0, Thabana Ya Dafida an installation at Ga-Sekgopo village in Limpopo; as well as Modjadji le Dikolobjana in collaboration with the Zurich University school of the Arts’ Transdisciplinary program and researchers of the University of Geneva’s Astronomy Department as part of the Artist in Labs Residency program. Museum projects include, ––defunct context: Ejaradini (2019), by MADEYOULOOK at Anthropology Museum, Johannesburg. Group exhibitions include participation in Lifescapes-Six Object Biographies at Wits Art Museum (2017), ‘The Jerusalem Show VIII: Before and After Origins’, Qalandiya International Biennale (2016) and the 10th and 11th Bamako Encounters African Biennale of Photography (2015/7). Mahashe recently contributed as faculty member for the Lagos Biennale’s Curatorial intensive hosted by the 2nd Lagos Biennale.

Additional info:

Mahashe’s PhD project titled MaBareBare meditates on ideas of rumour and criticality, juxtaposing a search for a trip to Berlin by four of his great grandparents in 1897 against his own travels to Berlin and West Africa as he passes through the contemporary art circuit, ethnographic museums and colonial archives.

Mahashe regularly contributes to academic conferences and symposia, including the public lecture ‘Interlocutor /halfie/artist––being a Molobedu, artist and academic in the #fall era–– opacity? ––or doing other things…’, as part of the Unsettling Voices lecture series at Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam.

Recent articles include:

Research output 2017-2019

Journal articles

Mahashe, T.G. In press. ‘Walking towards a camera obscura’. Critical African Studies. (peer review revisions accepted).

Exhibition Catalogues/Photobooks:

Mahashe, T.G. 2017. ‘Camera Obscura #6 Dream me a Dream’ in Afrotopia: Recontres de Bamako, Biennale Africaine de la Photographie. Ed. Yemsi, M. Paris: Edition Delector. 126–129.

Exhibitions (As curator)

––defunct context: Ejaradini. Anthropology Museum, Johannesburg. (Collaboration with artist collective MADEYOULOOK and Birgitta Stone-Johnson (Wits Department of Architecture and Planning)) 2019

Ethnographically Intimate, Images from the Colonial field. Anthropology Museum, Johannesburg. (Collaboration with independent visual artist and film curator Catarina Simão and Caio Simões de Araújo (Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, Wits University)) 2019

Exhibitions (As artist)

Solo exhibitions

Camera obscura #0 Thabana ya Dafida, NAC funded installation, Ga-Sekgopo, South Africa. 2019/2020.

Lerumo la Mutwa, Museum Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland. 2018

Camera Obscura #5 A Character’s Quest, Künstlerhäuser Worpswede, Germany. 2017

Group exhibitions

Humanism 2020?, Markers_2 exhibition series. 1 Poria Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel. 2019.

Lifescapes: Six Object Biographies, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg. 2017

Afrotopia. Bamako Encounters Photography Biennal, Bamako, Mali. 2017

Invited lectures

‘Doing other things –– an ambivalence to important work ––an attempt to go beyond ethnographic photographic archives and museums and their importance to the p​ost-colonial​question’. Lagos Biennial Curatorial Intensive. Omenka Gallery, Lagos Nigeria. 29 November 2019.

‘Lerumo la Mutwa, A process and meditation on the idea of instrumentation within the context of the Artist in Labs residency program at the Geneva Observatory’. Concluding Lecture Artist in Labs residency. Observatoire de Geneve. 29 November 2018.

‘Process as work––from MaBaraBare to Modjadji le Dikolobjana’lecture series: The Documentary Turn. MA Transdisciplinary Studies Zurich University of the Arts. 25 October 2018.

‘Interlocutor /halfie/artist––being a Molobedu, artist and academic in the #fall era–– opacity? ––or doing other things…’, Unsettling Voices lecture series. Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, 17 October 2018.

‘Archive, practice, context; a 12-year project/obsession with Khelobedu’, Lecture series Kein Kino, curated by Maike Thies, Zurich University of the Arts. 24th September 2018.

‘Venus in conjunction with Orion’s belt, how do I learn khelobedu today’. Introductory lecture, Artist in Labs residency. Observatoire de Geneve. 11 September 2018.

Conferences/panel discussions

Artist Unrecorded. A conversation with George Mahashe and Professor Hlonipha Mokoena. Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa. 22 May 2019

Photography Beyond the idea of Africa: In and against the idea of Africa. Panel discussion with Kelvin Haizel, Bianca Baldi and George Mahashe, moderated by Dr Wayne Modest. Afrika museum (National Museum of World cultures (NMvW)), Nijmegen, Netherlands. 29 November 2019.

“Doing Other Things, an ambivalence to important work”. African Ethnographies. University of Western Cape, Cape Town. 14–16 May 2019.

“Doing Other Things, going beyond ethnographic photographic archives and museums” Critical entanglements: colonialism, anthropology and the visual arts. Anthropology Museum, Johannesburg. 10-11 May 2019

Theatrum Botanicum (Uriel Orlow). Panel discussion with Molemo Moiloa, Dr Jonathan Cane, George Mahashe, Uriel Orlow. Market Photo Workshop Auditorium, Johannesburg. 7 September 2018.

"When Art and Science Meet" Panel discussion of 100 Ways of Thinking Exhibition and conference. Kunsthalle Zürich. 22nd September 2018.


Free Passes? trickster in the curatorial fieldA 45 minute workshop, Lagos Biennial Curatorial Intensive. Omenka Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria.

Invited advisory boards/panels

Market Photo Workshop Roundtable on the establishing of a Pan-African Photography Archive and Research Centre, Market Photo Workshop Library, 30 April 2019.

Call and Response Project, Johannesburg Art Gallery–the Greenhouse Project (Joubert Park), 22 February 2019.

Migration/Mobility, Goethe-Institute Cairo, 3-4 December 2018.

Terms of Engagement, a programme of encounters, exchanges and reflections. Pro Helvetia. Johannesburg. 6-8 September 2018.

Call and Response Project, Johannesburg Art Gallery–Maritz Room, 20 July 2018.

University of Bristol Screen Research Cluster. Bristol Archives, Empire and Commonwealth collection. 18th July 2017.


Lerumo la Mutwa. Solid copper disk prototype.

Use: Variable mount for modular telescope (can be adapted to host a Refractors, Newtonian reflectors and Catadioptric telescope format).

Produced in reference to Credo Mutwa’s discussions on indigenous scientific instruments.

Produced on a “3 axis Machine centre” by the workshop of the Observatoire de Genève, University of Geneva, Switzerland in 2018.