Divine Southgate-Smith


Divine Southgate-Smith develops a transdisciplinary practice that comprises photographic collage, sculpture, moving image, performance, writing, spoken word, and 3D animation. Her/their approach to art-making is medium non-specific and collaborative, allowing her/them to explore complex narratives through various mediums and disciplines while navigating speculative spaces where things are abstracted, contextualised, de-contextualised, voiced, or silenced. Questioning the traditional equation between sight and understanding, Southgate-Smith invites us to observe and examine visual representations of the future whilst in constant dialogue with the past. Her/their artwork touches on themes of oppression, stereotyping, intersectionality, empowerment, and joy while referencing and questioning articulations of black, queer, and female experience. Her/their practice relies on research and intuition, often turning to literature, music, imagination, community, and archive material as primary sources of inspiration and creation.

Southgate-Smith was born in 1995 in Lomé, Togo, and currently lives and works in London, UK. In 2022, she/they received her/their Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools (The Royal Academy of Arts, London), having previously completed her/their undergraduate study in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins (London, 2017).


In 2024, Southgate-Smith will pursue a research fellowship at East Gallery, Norwich University of the Arts, and The Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts, studying their collections and tracing the use of glass on the African continent.


In 2022 she/they published her/them first book as part of an ongoing series: TEETH KISSIN’ Where Elephants Reside, published by Lichen Books, and All Purpose Studios.


Selected exhibitions include Work: Am I Porous or Imploding, EAST Gallery, Norwich University of the Arts, UK (solo, 2024 – forthcoming); TEETH KISSIN’, Soup Gallery, London, UK (solo, 2023); The last train after the last train, PUBLIC Gallery, London, UK (2023); Globalisto. Fragments of a Community, curated by Mo Laudi, 31 PROJECT, Paris, FR (2023); Galerina x Arcadia Missa, Ways of Living 3.0, Arcadia Missa, London, UK (2023); DAWA, curated by Latif Samassi, 3537, Paris, FR (2023); The Ultimate Bootleg Experience, Studio Chappel, London, UK (2023); Of Mythic Worlds, curated by Harold Offeh, Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK (2022); 144, Reference Point, 180 Strand, London, UK (2022); FEŸ, Feÿ Arts, Château du Feÿ, Villecien, FR (2022); The Practice of Listening, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2022), FRENTE n2, Desterro, Lisbon, PT (2019); Europe Under Construction, SCHRILL, Braunschweig, DE (2019); (Putting words) in my mouth, Galeria Foco (2019), Mellifluous Elephant, Casa da Dona Laura, Lisbon, PT (2019); PADA STUDIO presents Capitulo, Auditório Municipal Augusto Cabrita (2019); Feedback, The Switch Gallery, Lisbon, PT (2019); and Dis (Places), Galeria Foco, Lisbon, PT (2019).


Southgate-Smith’s work is part of a number of permanent collections, including The Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Casa Do Design, Porto, PT; Lexus Private collection, Brussels, BE.


Award nominations include; Frame Awards (2021); Mullen LoweGroup Nova Award (2017); International Takifuji Art Award (2017); and The Art Academy Drawing Prize (2014).