Zama Phakathi Biography

Zama Phakathi
Zama Phakathi is the owner and curator at StopSign Art Gallery. This mobile contemporary art gallery is hosted in a shipping container in Maboneng Precinct, showcasing promising local up-and-coming contemporary artists. Zama’s interesting ways of thinking about art and making it accessible

is making waves in the local art community, and with big plans for the future she’s definitely a young creative to keep an eye out for. 

According to Zama, she start art by birth “As far as I can remember I have always been an art piece ready to be framed and put in an art gallery for an exhibition”


Zama Phakathi grew up in Johannesburg in the West Rand, and attended high school at Allen Glen High. After she matriculated, She studied directing at Wits University’s Drama for Life. She went on to work on various art projects and eventually started curating.

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In 2012, She worked as a project co-ordinator for the Soweto Artist Residency. After their first exhibition she received great feedback from people who attended the event, including artists. Artists started sending me their portfolios wanting to be part of the next residency. She could never say no and before she knew it she had a bunch of portfolios from different artists.
Then she decided to approach galleries with the idea of curating on a full-time basis. Things didn’t go as planned because the majority of portfolios she had were upcoming artists and I was asked questions such as “who is this?” and “what have they done?”. she thought to herself how on earth would you know who she is, if you wouldn’t give her an opportunity to show you who she is. Then taaadaa Zama gave birth to StopSign Art Gallery.