Selected Works

Sue Williamson
Other Voices: The blockade is also in the mind (Refused Location), Fortaleza de la Cabana Havana, Cuba. (photo: Husain Essop), 2009
Archival inks on Hahnemuhle paper
60 x 90cm
Sue Williamson
There's something I must tell you, 2013
Six screen video installation
Dimensions variable
Sue Williamson
Better Lives: Albert & Isabelle Ngandu, 2003
35mm film transferred to DVD

Sue Williamson
The Last Supper, Manley Villa (Girl), 1981
Archival print on cotton rag
Image: 39 x 58 cm Work: 50 x 67 cm Frame: 56 x 72.5 x 4 cm
Sue Williamson
Truth Games: Nomonde Calata – was everything to me – Harold Snyman, 1998
Colour laser prints, wood, metal, plastic, perspex
Work: 84 x 121 x 6 cm
Sue Williamson
It's a pleasure to meet you (from the series No More Fairy Tales), 2016
2-channel video installation with stereo audio

Sue Williamson
Messages from the Moat, 1997
glass bottles, fishing net, tank, water, recirculating pump, audio track played through speakers
Sue Williamson
Messages from the Atlantic Passage, 2017
2 x marine ply tank, each 1850 x 1110 x 250 mm + 3 x marine ply tank, each 2440 x 1500 x 250 mm 110 x cardboard boxes, containing engraved bottles, each box 300 x 30 x 300 mm 5 x fishing nets 1 x chain, 100 meters long 1 x chain 70 meters long 850 x galvanized steel shackles 3 x water pumps with cabling Pump accessories: 1 x 20mm clear plastic pipe 24 x hose clamps 6 x insert flow control 12 x insert elbow 3 x insert Tee
Dimensions variable
Sue Williamson
Other Voices: Don’t Panic – Creativity Will Save Us; Dakar, Senegal, 2016
Pigment inks on cotton paper
100 x 617 cm / 30 x 185 cm / 60 x 370 cm
Sue Williamson
Annie Silinga, Langa I, 1983
Archival inks on archival paper
Frame: 76 x 56 x 4.5 cm / Image: 58 x 38 cm / Image: 58 x 39cm / Work: 72 x 51.5 cm
Sue Williamson
From the Inside: Benjy (portrait: the artist, wall: Dave Southwood), 2000
Dibond print
Work: 90 x 200 cm
Sue Williamson
A Few South Africans: Amina Cachalia, 1984
Photo etching/screenprint collage
70 x 64cm


Sue Williamson (b. 1941, Lichfield, UK) emigrated with her family to South Africa in 1948. Trained as a printmaker, Williamson also works in installation, photography and video. In the 1970s, she started to make work which addressed social change during apartheid and by the 1980s Williamson was well known for her series of portraits of women involved in the country’s political struggle. A Few South Africans is one such a series where she celebrates women who had played roles in the fight for freedom.

Referring to her practice, Williamson states: “You become aware of the audience to whom you speak. In that sense, you think backwards: what you have to say, whom you say it to, and how it will reach the audience. Having to consider your work through the eyes of somebody who knows nothing about you as an artist and what you are doing is a useful exercise.” Williamson has managed to avoid the rut of being caught in an apartheid-era aesthetic, “I am never particularly interested in doing what I did the last time. I take one thing and work it out a number of ways.”

In 2018, Williamson was Goodman Gallery’s featured artist at the FNB Joburg Art Fair, where she exhibited her work Messages from the Atlantic Passage, a large-scale installation of shackled, suspended glass bottles engraved with profiles of 19th-century victims of slavery. This installation was also exhibited that year at Art Basel in Switzerland and at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India.

Williamson’s works feature in numerous public collections across the globe, including those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA, Tate Modern, London, UK, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA, Wifredo Lam Centre, Havana, Cuba, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, and Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa.

Williamson has received various awards and fellowships such as the Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship 2011, Italy, Rockefeller Foundation, the Visual Artist Research Award Fellowship 2007, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA and the Lucas Artists Residency Fellowship 2005, Montalvo Art Center, California, USA.

Sue Williamson lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.