Born in 1969 in Kabwe, Zambia, Emmanuel graduated with an Honours degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa in 1994. In 1997, The Ampersand Foundation made him the first recipient of the Ampersand Fellowship, New York, USA. His first solo show in 2000 opened at the Open Window Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa and in 2002 he was awarded first prize for AIR ON THE SKIN, in the Sasol Wax in Art Competition, Sasolburg, South Africa. Emmanuel employs various media, including photography and film, to reveal layered visions concerned with his identity living in post-apartheid South Africa. In 2004, Phase 1 of his series of unique counter-memorials, THE LOST MEN, was launched on the Grahamstown National Arts Festival main visual arts programme to public acclaim. In April 2007, phase 2 of this project took place in Maputo, Mozambique.

In September 2008 his touring museum exhibition entitled TRANSITIONS premiered at The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg featuring his critically acclaimed short film 3SAI: A RITE OF PASSAGE. In 2009 this short, non-verbal, experimental won the jury prize in the Short Film Competition at the 4th Africa-In-Motion Film Festival of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, UK. In the same year it was also officially selected for the 12th Antimatter International Film Festival in Victoria, Canada and the Design Indaba Expo National Film Festival in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2010, it was officially selected for the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands, the 19th Séquence CourtMetrage International Film Festival, Toulouse, France and the 7th Sedicicorto International Film Festival, Forlì, Italy.

The film also won the Best Experimental Film award on the Sardinia International Film Festival in Sassari, Italy 2010. In 2010 TRANSITIONS debuted its international tour at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, USA and in 2011 Emmanuel was selected as Featured Artist with his solo exhibition TRANSITIONS MULTIPLES for the FNB Joburg Art Fair. In 2012 he was granted the Institut Français Visas Pour la Creation residency in Paris, France. In July 2014 THE LOST MEN FRANCE was installed adjacent to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, northern France as an intervention in the Somme Circuit of Remembrance and was an official event of the World War One Centenary.

In 2015 Emmanuel’s museum exhibition REMNANTS premiered at the Freedom Park Museum, Pretoria and toured to Boston University’s 808 Gallery, Massachusetts, USA in January 2016 and The Reservoir, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa in 2017. MEN AND MONUMENTS opened at Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa in March 2020 with the launch of the monograph titled PAUL EMMANUEL (Wits Art Museum), edited by Professor Karen von Veh and with writings by Professor Emerita Annette Becker, Professor Karen von Veh and Associate Professor Emerita Pamela Allara. In February 2021 Emmanuel was selected for the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) Writing Fellowship. Emmanuel lives and works in Johannesburg.

To learn more about Paul Emmanuel, you can click HERE to visit his website.