Born in 1986 in Cape Town, South Africa
Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa


Cinga Samson’s work addresses themes of masculinity, spirituality and race against the backdrop of Post-colonialism. Painting personal visions together with imagery culled and pieced together from art history books, his style is more reminiscent of formal traditions of European art than it is of contemporary South African painting. Moving between self-portraits, Vanitas-like still lives and depictions of conspiratorial white men in Victorian costume, his paintings are anachronistic and surreal; like visions or dreams, figures and objects emerge, strangely illuminated, from cold and murky interiors. Explaining his iconography, Samson states: “When I create an artwork, I want the results to feel secret, almost holy and distant. I always picture the audience of my work standing in front of it, looking what I have put in front of them, whether it’s the image of flowers or figures…, unclear as to what it’s all about and also having a sense that what’s in the images is something from a different world that they don’t belong to, maybe from another time or perhaps somewhere, where no one goes.” Samson believes that, consciously or unconsciously, and without being directly political, his artworks engage with the frustrations of young black Africans and their sense of displacement within the nationalistic narrative of social cohesion. He is interested in their disillusionment with their institutions (religious, educational, etc) that appear to be maintaining the status quo by regulating and pacifying rather than furthering the radical development so longed for. Samson’s process includes gathering ideas from locals about their environment and their pervading sense of invasion from both ‘outsiders’ and visible remnants of the past. He is intrigued by the myths and conspiracy theories invented by the community to impose order on their world (this interest helps to fuel the sense of the fantastique in his art), paralleled by the basic human instincts that drive our existence, leading him to question whether we are above the natural laws of the animal kingdom that dictate the ‘survival of the fittest’, or if our social hierarchy is in fact governed by them to some degree. Cinga Samson was born in Cape Town in 1986. To date, he has held three solo exhibitions at blank projects: Safari Fantasy (2017), Ubugqoboka Magqoboka (2016) and Thirty Pieces of Silver (2015). He has participated in several group shows, including A Painting Today (Stevenson, Cape Town); In the night I remember curated by Kabelo Malatsie (Stevenson, Johannesburg); Our Fathers curated by Kirsty Cockerill and Chantal Louw (AVA Gallery, Cape Town) and Strata at Greatmore Studios, where he completed a residency in 2011. His first solo exhibition, Rusting Iron, was held at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town, 2011.

solo shows

Safari Fantasy, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

Ubugqoboka Magqoboka, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

Thirty Pieces of Silver, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

Rusting Iron, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

group shows

Umthamo, Maitland Institute, Cape Town, South Africa

17, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

A Painting Today, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

Figure, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

Furniture, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa

In the night I remember, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

Our Fathers, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

STRATA, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, South Africa


Tollman Award

Residencies + workshops

Popty Bach, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth, Wales, United Kingdom

Isibane Creative Arts, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa

  • April 2018
    Established Africa — 6 PAGES

  • March 2018
    Visi — 4 PAGES

  • May 2017
    Mail & Guardian — 8 PAGES

  • September 2015
    ArtThrob — 3 PAGES