Billie Zangewa

ARTIST Billie Zangewa

Embroidery on silk / Tapestry
Born in 1973 in Blantyre, Malawi
Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa

Billie Zangewa’s work focuses on emancipated human relations and the urban. Her chosen material for creative expression is textile. She recycles strips and scraps of silk to make her sewn and embroidered artworks which can be compared to contemporary tapestry. The quasi-cinematographic narratives are figurative and inspired from the fashion and graphic design industries. Rather like episodes from a private journal with all the immediacy that implies, fragments of manuscript texts are woven into asymmetrical surfaces. These works are strident determined advocates for freedom of action and thought.

In 2004, she was awarded the prestigious Gerard Sekoto Prize on the strength of a triptych of handbags depicting cityscapes of Johannesburg titled “Faith, Love and Hope”.

Billie Zangewa has a monograph published by Les Carnets de la Création. Afrique du Sud, Les Editions de l’œil, Paris, 2009.

Text by Pierre Jaccaud.

Collections – selection

Hood Museum of Art, New Hampshire, USA

Rhodes University Alumni collection

Reserve Bank of Botswana

Fondation Blachère

J.P. Morgan Chase

Major Exhibitions


El Iris de Lucy, Centro Atlàntico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain


El Iris de Lucy, Musée départemental de Rochechouart, France
El Iris de Lucy, Musac, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon, Spain


Body Talk: Feminism, Sexuality and the Body in the Work of Six African Women ArtistsWIELS, Brussels, Belgium


My Joburg, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France


Hollandaise, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Love and Africa, The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, USA


Transformations, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


Dak’Art, Biennale, Dakar, Senegal


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