Johannes Phokela is a South African artist born in Soweto in 1966. He began his formal art career in 1984 at the Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA) Academy in Johannesburg, where he obtained a three-year diploma. In 1987, he moved to London, where he completed a year-long foundation course at Central St. Martins: University of the Arts London before acquiring a bachelor’s degree at Camberwell College of Art: University of the Arts London (1988). He then completed a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art (1993) and returned permanently to South Africa in 2006.
Phokela has established a distinguished career both locally and internationally. He played an advisory role in establishing The Bag Factory, Johannesburg (1990) and was awarded the prestigious year-long residency at Delfina Studio Trust, London (1993). He was also one of the founding members of the Gasworks Studios, London (1994 – 2005), producing studio work as well as participating in the International Residency Programme. He did volunteer work for The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1995 and led to his participation in a residency programme in Senegal through the British Council (1997). He is a recipient of the Decibel Award from the Arts Council of England (2004).