Bruce Clarke was born in London in 1959. As his parents had lived in South Africa, he had a strong attachment to this country from an early age, and the African continent more broadly. After studying Fine Art at the University of Leeds, in England, he moved to Paris.
His visual work deals with contemporary history, writing and the passing down of this history. He hopes that his painting will prompt reflection on the contemporary world and the representation we make of it. With his strong political involvement, he integrates his struggle into his visual research.
As a talented artist in multiple fields, Bruce Clarke is a photographer as well as a visual artist. His art tackles the themes of slavery, colonialism and globalisation. He sees art as a privileged means of expressing himself and informing others, of looking at the world around us. He positions himself outside complacent and decorative art, since for him, it is not enough simply to make a place for oneself in society, we also need to strive to influence the course of history.
When he arrived in Paris, Bruce became one of the main actors in mobilising French public opinion against the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and became a prominent figure in the anti-Apartheid movement in France. Close to the Rwandan community living in Europe, Bruce Clarke set off to carry out a photographic report a few weeks after the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda in 1994, at the same time Nelson Mandela came to power in South Africa. In the early 2000s, at the request of the survivors of the genocide, he started “Le Jardin de la Mémoire” (The Garden of Memory) at the site of a massacre near Kigali, a memorial in the form of a monumental installation, supported by civil society, Rwandan institutions and UNESCO.
His work is often exhibited in galleries in Europe, and he has taken part in various exhibitions and biennials in Africa and elsewhere in the world.