Art Term

Resistance art

A form of art that emerged in South Africa in the mid-1970s after the Soweto uprising that focused on resisting apartheid and celebrating African strength and unity

The Soweto uprising marked the beginning of social change in South Africa. Resistance art grew out of the Black Consciousness Movement, a grass-roots anti-Apartheid movement that emerged in the 1960s lead by the charismatic activist Steve Biko. Much of the art was public, taking the form of murals, banners, posters, t-shirts and graffiti with political messages that were confrontational and focused on the realities of life in a segregated South Africa.

One of the leading artists of resistance art was Thamsanga Mnyele who was killed by South African commandos in 1985. Other artists associated with resistance art include: Dikobe Martins and Norman Catherine.