Thania Petersen uses photography, performance and installation to address the intricacies and complexities of her identity in contemporary South Africa. Petersen’s reference points sit largely in Islam and in creating awareness about its practices. She attempts to unpack contemporary trends of Islamophobia through her analysis of the continuing impact of colonialism, European and American imperialism, and the increasing influence of right-wing ideologies. Threads in her work include the history of colonialist imperialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as the social and cultural impact of westernised consumer culture. Her work is also informed by her Cape Malay heritage, and the practice of Sufi Islamic religious ceremonies.
In 2018, Petersen held her solo exhibition IQRA at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Radical Love, Ford Foundation, New York (2019) and Present Passing: South by Southeast, Osage Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2019). She is represented in public and private collections including The Durban Art Gallery, The IZIKO South African National Gallery and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA).