b. 1949, Swakopmund, Namibia.
Worked and lived in Rome, Italy & New York City, USA [1972 – 2009].
Currently resides in Swakopmund, Namibia.
In 2019 Margaret Courtney-Clarke was shortlisted for both the Prix Pictet and the Contemporary African Photography Prize (CAP) - she was nominated for the latter again in 2020.
Courtney-Clarke received Diplomas in Graphic Design and Photography (1971) at the then Technikon Natal (now Durban University of Technology), Durban, South Africa, and then enrolled at Scuola Libera di Roma in Rome, Italy in 1974 to study drawing and anatomy. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Photojournalism at New York University (NYU), in New York in 1978. Spending more than four decades working as a photographer between Italy, the USA and across the African continent she freelanced for magazines such as Life, Geo, Stern, Attenzione, Newsweek and Architectural Digest and also produced her acclaimed trilogy: Ndebele: (1986), African Canvas (1990) and Imazighen (1996) that has been exhibited in over two hundred Museums across the USA, Africa, Europe and Japan. The trilogy is shortly to be republished by Steidl as a collector’s edition with new material from Courtney-Clarke’s travel notebooks. Particularly focused on women’s creative practice she worked on several collaborations with Maya Angelou.
Author of 8 books Courtney-Clarke’s work has received regular acclaim. Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain (accompanied by a retrospective exhibition at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, South Africa in 2018) with foreword by David Goldblatt and essay by Sean O’Toole, received a number of nominations including the 2018 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award (longlisted), in London, UK; and the silverDeutscher x (shortlisted), Stuttgart, Germany. For her portfolio A Lifelong Obsession with Finding Shelter in New York City, USA she received the Photo District News (PDN) Award in 2018 and she was nominated for the 2015 Henri Cartier-Bresson (HBC) Award for her series On Borrowed Time in Paris, France.
Current exhibitions include HOPE, as part of the Prix Pictet global award in photography and sustainability, which travelled in 2019 from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Porter Gallery in London, UK to the Hillside Forum in Tokyo, Japan, and in 2020 to Luma Westbau, Zurich, and the Mouravieff-Apostol House & Museum in Moscow, Russia. HOPE will continue its world tour in 2021/22 to venues in Verona (current), Milan, Dublin, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Singapore and Beijing.
Recent invitations to exhibit include Face to Face, curated by Ekow Eshun, on public display from October 2020 onwards in King’s Cross Tunnel in London, UK and in 2019 Crossing Night: Regional Identities x Global Context, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, USA.
In 2021, Courtney-Clarke will present a solo exhibition at !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre in Yzerfontein, South Africa, as well as an exhibition foregrounding conversations with Maya Angelou at SMAC Gallery, Cape Town.
Courtney-Clarke’s work has been commissioned and distributed by Hoa-Qui (France), Speranza (Italy), Anzenburger (Austria), Mega Press (Tokyo), Photo Researchers (USA), the BBC (UK) and CBC (Canada) amongst others.
Courtney-Clarke’s forthcoming book When Tears Don’t Matter with foreword by Virginia MacKenny and essay by Rob J. Gordon, will be available Spring of 2021 (Steidl.de)