Contemporary art USA

Work dealing with African resistance wins $100,000 prize

Public chooses Meleko Mokgosi as their favourite artist for Mohn Award, voting online and at Hammer Museum

Meleko Mokgosi's Pax Kaffraria: Sikhuselo embumbulu, 2012

The Hammer Museum has announced that the Botswana-born, Los Angeles-based artist Meleko Mokgosi is the winner of its new Mohn Award, a $100,000 prize given over two years that rivals the Turner Prize in the UK. The award is funded by the local philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn.

Mokgosi was among five finalists selected by a panel of judges from the 60 artists taking part in the Hammer’s “Made in LA” biennial. He was chosen as the overall winner by the public through a registered voting system, both online and at the museum, that ensured secure and authentic results.

The artist’s installation in the biennial Pax Kaffraria: Sikhuselo embumbulu, 2012, is part of a larger series dealing with post-colonial Africa. Its title includes the term “bulletproof” in Xhosa, a South African language. The work refers to the cattle killing movement of 1856-57, which was based on a prophecy meant to bring about a new earthly paradise and destroy the white colonists. According to the museum, “the series of paintings frames the historic event and considers a legacy of resistance that continues today—namely, the persistent drive to become bulletproof.”

The Made in LA 2012 biennial runs until 2 September.

The winner: Meleko Mokgosi
More from The Art Newspaper


23 Aug 12
16:48 CET


This is truly creative. I am utterly proud that this idea was culled from a historic event of African origin. This is truly inspiring indeed!

17 Aug 12
19:0 CET


i would like to congratulate my primary school mate Meleko Mokgosi,and say that i am so proud of him...for the past 15 years i have been wondering where he is,and BANG...i "found him" with so much exciting and wonderful news. kinldy send my regards to him. i am in Botswana, and he might have forgetten me. thank you in advance. Rona Tshiamo

Submit a comment

All comments are moderated. If you would like your comment to be approved, please use your real name, not a pseudonym. We ask for your email address in case we wish to contact you - it will not be made public and we do not use it for any other purpose.


Want to write a longer comment to this article? Email


Share this