Penny Siopis was born in 1953 in Vryburg, South Africa, and currently lives and works in Johannesburg. Siopis works in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, film, video, and installation. Her work since the 1970s has had different focuses, but her interest in what she calls the “poetics of vulnerability” characterizes all her explorations, from her earlier engagements with history, memory, and migration to her later concerns with shame, violence, and sexuality. Siopis is particularly interested in the ways that national history and personal memory intersect in visual narratives of the South African social climate.

Siopis has exhibited widely, with recent solo exhibitions at Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town (2011, 2009, and 2007), KZNSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa (2009), Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (2005), and the Freud Museum, London (2005). She has participated in group exhibitions at the Venice Biennale (2013 and 1993), the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2012), Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2011 and 2006), Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg (2011 and 2006), the Walther Collection, Ulm, Germany (2011), the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010), the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008), the Fowler Museum, University of California, Los Angeles (2008), Tate Gallery, Liverpool, England (2007), and the International Biennale, Cape Town (2007), among many others.