Lerato SHADI 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, she 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.”
Born in Mahikeng, South Africa, Shadi graduated from the University of Johannesburg in 2006 and in 2018 earned a M.A. in Spatial Strategies from the Weißensee Academy of Art in Berlin. Shadi's work has been included on numerous institutional exhibitions, including most recently at the Kunstverein in Hamburg and KINDL Centre for Contemporary Art in Berlin, as well as Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), Daimler Contemporary, ifa-Galerie and SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin; Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town; Kunsthal Amersfoort in the Netherlands; and the Tate Modern in London. She has also exhibited at the Curitiba Biennial in Brazil, the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, and DAK’ART Dakar Biennale.
Shadi was awarded the Alumni Dignitas Award of the University of Johannesburg in 2016, the Villa Romana Prize in 2018, and the Berliner Senat Arbeitsstipendium in 2019. Her work is represented in the collections of the Tate Modern, n.b.k Videoforum, and IZIKO South African National Gallery, among others.