Lerato Shadi's practice challenges common assumptions to critique Western notions of history and make visible that which is invisible or overlooked. Working across video, performance and installation, and often employing repetitive processes, Shadi argues the importance of centering — not just including — the marginalised body as a main figure of narrative experience. By placing herself at the forefront of her work, Shadi deals with the politics of cultural erasure and structural exclusion. She states: "It serves to challenge myself, and hopefully my audience as well, in how I/we are complicit in the violence of historical erasure by not fighting for a more inclusive and accurate historical narrative. I realised that — by just blindly or lazily accepting an inaccurate history — I would be sanctioning the problematic dominant narrative with my own inactivity."
Shadi earned a B.A. in Visual Art from the University of Johannesburg in 2007 and an M.A. in Spatial Strategies from Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee in 2018, where she is currently lecturing. She was a member of the Bag Factory artist studios in Johannesburg from 2009 to 2011, a fellow at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern in 2013, an artist-in-residence at AFRICA'SOUT in New York in 2017 and a Villa Romana Prize fellow in 2018.
Lerato Shadi's work was part of the 2012 Dak'art Biennale and Moscow International Biennale for Young Art as well as the 2019 Curitiba Biennial and she participated in the Public Programs of documenta 14 in Kassel in 2017. Among other institutions, her work has been exhibited at n.b.k., Savvy Contemporary, ifa Gallery and Daimler Contemporary (all in Berlin), Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, GoetheOnMain and Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, the Pretoria Art Museum, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Centro Pecci in Rome, the KunsthalAmersfoort and most recently at KINDL Berlin and Kunstverein Hamburg. Her work will also be part of upcoming exhibitions at the Musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration and the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris. Lerato Shadi lives and works in Berlin.
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