Born in 1969 in Kabwe, Zambia, Emmanuel graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1993. In 1997, The Ampersand Foundation made him the first recipient of the prestigious Ampersand Fellowship, which afforded him a three-month residency in New York. His first solo show in 2000 at the Open Window Gallery, Pretoria, was followed by three subsequent solo exhibitions in the Western Cape and Johannesburg in 2003 – 2005. In 2002, he was awarded first prize for AIR ON THE SKIN, in the Sasol Wax in Art Competition. Emmanuel employs various media, including photography and film, to reveal layered visions concerned with his identity as a young white male living in post-apartheid South Africa.
In 2004, Phase 1 of his series of unique, anti-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 in 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 Court-Metrage 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 four-month research residency in Paris, France. In July 2014 THE LOST MEN FRANCE was installed adjacent to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in 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 in Pretoria and will tour to Boston University’s 808 Gallery in January 2016.
Emmanuel lives and works in Johannesburg.