Peter Sacks was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in 1950, and grew up in Durban, on the Indian Ocean. At the age of 16, he began Medical School at the University of Cape Town, but, after a term, decided to discontinue those studies and turn towards Political Science and Literature at the University of Natal. He became involved in the struggle against the apartheid regime as a member of the National Union of South African Students and executive of the Students Representative Council. In 1970 Sacks emigrated from South Africa. He spent the following several years studying in the United States and the United Kingdom at Princeton, Oxford and Yale. While authoring several books of literary scholarship and poetry, he painted privately, mostly in notebooks – several of which accompanied his travels on foot in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. During the late 90’s he began to work on unframed canvas pages and, after a several month retreat in Marfa, Texas, began making free-standing works. Following the retreat, Sacks decided to make the works public and had his first solo exhibition in Paris in 2004, followed by exhibitions in New York, London and elsewhere. His large works on cardboard led to his designing sets for Peter Brook, notably the production of Sizwe Bansi is Dead at Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris (2009). His densely layered works are in numerous private and public collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Collection of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg; The Ethelbert Cooper Museum of African and African American Art, Cambridge, MA; The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Oxford; and the Beyond Borders Foundation, Edinburgh. Peter Sacks works in studios in Massachusetts and New York City.
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