Exhibition: Témoin/Witness, Dec. 13 2013 – Jan. 10 2014 @ Goethe Institut
Exhibition Dates: Monday to Friday, December 16-20 2013, January 2-10 2014,
Time: 1 to 6 pm
Témoin/Witness is an exhibition initiated by the Goethe- Institut South Africa and curator Simon Njami; co-curated by Sammy Baloji and Monique Pelser. It showcases the works of photographers who were involved in a Photographers’ Portfolio Meeting over a span of three years. The aim was to present their work within the portfolio reviews to several curators to gain critical feedback. The photographers included Sammy Baloji (DRC), Calvin Dondo (Zimbabwe), Sabelo Mlangeni (South Africa), Abraham Oghobase (Nigeria), Monique Pelser (South Africa) and Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopia).
The exhibition speaks about the social issues, ever-changing past and present and inherited cultures across the African continent. It represents how this group of emerging photographers perform the role of onlookers, and actively survey their immedate environments. The works then become historical records and evidence reflecting the constantly shifting history, inherit cultures and social issues that span across the African continent.
About the Photographers
Sammy Baloji, born 1978 in Lubumbashi, D.R.C, lives and works in Lubumbashi and Brussels, Belgium.
“My work questions the still existing traces of colonization in Congolese society. In this approach, it expresses a desire to inform and rewrite a story from the present. A present aware of his past and ready to assume the future. My photographic work is between documentary and fiction. In this sense I need a context (the environment) to create my own story. To do this, I did some research on topics or events of the past and even on the present. I’m using pictures archives or even sound archives to create a new statement.”
Calvin Dondo, born 1963 in Harare, lives and works in Harare, Zimbabwe.
“I believe our work as an artist is to open doors, shed light and give new possibilities to, first, our immediate environment, and then, the world at large. Our visual statements provoke and shift societies understanding of the world. Whatever work I do I feel I am responsible to everyone around me.”
Sabelo Mlangeni, born 1980 in Driefontein, lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“My work challenges a viewer, like in this body of work ‘Country Girls’. In our society we are taught that a man should present himself in a certain way, seeing a man in a dress shifts the way we think and are taught to think. It is political and confronts issues of homophobia.”
Abraham Oghobase, born 1979 in Lagos, lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
“The social, political and economic situation of society plays a pivotal role in my work. I am interested in using photography to explore the way people live and how they are affected by the different systems that exist, and how conditions evolve to meet or take advantage of certain needs. For example, with this series ‘Jam I’ explore how rural-urban drift, among other things, has led to inflated rents in Lagos and congested living spaces. My exploration of identity through self-portraiture in Nigeria and abroad, for example, is often a function of how I am perceived as a photographer, an artist, a black male, a Nigerian, and so on, which in turn is based on social and cultural points of view that have their roots in history.”
Monique Pelser, born 1976 in Johannesburg, lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
“I try to use the camera and developing photographic technology as a way of re-looking at my country, the land, people and the objects or traces which were left behind and have become a historical burden. I feel that my generation and those that follow have inherited a lot to process. I try to use photography as dissonance, as a way to re-look and represent and process this history.”
Michael Tsegaye, born 1975 in Addis Ababa, lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“In the past ten years, the city in which I live, Addis Ababa, and the rest of Ethiopia has gone through tremendous changes – both demographically as well as physically – with the construction of new buildings and the demolition of the old ones. The changes that modernity has brought about in the rural areas are also quite significant, as old cultural practices adopt certain aspects of new ones.”
Entry filed under: art exhibits. Tags: Abraham Oghobase, Addis Ababa, Belgium, Brussels, Calvin Dondo, Cape Town, Ethiopia, goethe institut, Goethe- Institut South Africa, Harare, Johannesburg, Lagos, Lubumbashi, Michael Tsegaye, Monique Pelser, Nigeria, Sabelo Mlangeni, Sammy Baloji, Simon Njami, south africa, Témoin, witness, Zimbabwe.