African Photography: Artistic Photography, Part 5

African Photography: Artistic Photography, Part 5

Posted in Photography

Over the past years, a new generation of African photographers have contributed to the contemporary art scene through conceptual art. Inspired by both historical and contemporary African issues, these young African talents are helping to shape the identity and values of their continent. Their works convey a political statement, a social commentary, or a psychological idea about people, relationships, and emotions. They turn abstract idea into an image, propelling the concept it represents into reality.

Mohau Modisakeng

Mohau Modisakeng was born in 1986 in Soweto, South Africa. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2009 and his graduate degree in 2014. Modisakeng uses memory as a portal between past and present to explore themes of history, body and place within the post-apartheid context. His photography, films, performance, and installations grapple with the conflicting politics of leadership and nationhood, whilst also attempting to unpack the legacy of inequality, capital, labour and extraction of mineral wealth in contemporary South Africa. His images are not direct representations of violence, but powerful yet poetic invocations where the body is transformed into a poignant marker of collective memory. In the series Metamorphosis (2015), he uses a personal lexicon of ritual and symbolism in which his physical form becomes both a vessel and a signifier.

Ditaola by Mohau Modisakeng

Nobukho Nqaba

Nobukho Nqaba was born in 1992 in Butterworth, South Africa. She graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2012. Using performance and photography, her body of work explores subjects of migration, movement and foreignness as well as personal issues surrounding family and the fragility of home. In the series Umaskhenkethe (2012), Nqaba uses bag made in China as a global symbol of migration for people who move around for better opportunity; the plastic mesh bag is a personal reminder of her own migration within her homeland. Memory and symbolism are powerful tools that Nqaba uses to both heal herself and tackle issues that form part of a collective representation of African identities. In her recent body of work Ndiyayekelela (2016), the artist reflects on her struggle to come to terms with the death of her father by posing with materiality that symbolizes his life as a hard working minor.

Umaskhenkethe by Nobukho Nqaba

Sethembile Msezane

Sethembile Msezane was born in 1991 in KwaZulu-Natal, and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2012 and completed a Masters in Fine Art in 2017. Msezane uses performance, photography, sculpture, film and installation to respond to geographical spaces, acknowledging the relationship between history, mythmaking and commemorative practice. In Chapungu – The Day Rhodes Fell (2015), she re-imagines the Zimbabwean mythological bird Chapungu on the day that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes was removed from the UCT during student-led protests. Her work addresses the absence of the black female body in the shaping of public spaces. Her art making process provides visibility and allows for self-definition within the context of colonial memory, linked histories, and paradoxes.

Solitude by Sethembile Msezane

Gabrielle Goliath

Gabrielle Goliath was born in 1983 in Kimberley, South Africa. She holds a master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Using photography, performance, and installations, she explores the complexities of gender-based violence in South Africa. Her primary concern is to preserve the memory of people victimized by acts of brutal and sexualised violence. Goliath accomplishes this with powerful metaphors for essentially inexpressible experiences, evoking a sense of loss and horror in a convergence of forms. In Elegy (2015), she calls together a group of female vocal performers, who collectively enact a ritual of mourning. The lengthy performance sustains a kind of sung cry – evoking symbolically the ‘presence’ of an absent individual. Responding to situations of extreme violence perpetrated against women in South Africa, Elegy recalls the identity of rape survivors who are all too easily consigned to a generic, all-encompassing victimhood.

Elegy by Gabrielle Goliath


Posted in Photography  |  May 19, 2018