This week for our studio visit Live headed to 55 on Long to view Sthombe’ Esihle, a photography exhibition featuring the work of five up and coming South African photographers.
Meaning beautiful picture in Zulu, curator Khanyisile Mbongwa explains that “Sthombe’ Esihle is a collective effort by black photogrpahers in South Africa to redirect the narrative of black imagery”. Khanyisile highlights that South African photography does not have to be taken in the townships, and that every space is yours. “South African photographers need to redirect the thought process of what qualifies as an African image”.
Photographer Sipho Mpongo agrees, stating that images of the township often depict crime and poverty, yet Langa is a rich place with colour and texture. Within his images he tries to capture the busy lifestyle of the people in the township.
Asanda Kaka describes the exhibition as “the idea is the collective, these images are black photography of substance and value, it does not to mean anything more than what it is”.
The series of images by Lerato Maduna titled “scene on Facebook”, depict the idea of adding personal value to an image. All 25 images (shot with a cell phone), encourage the viewer to look at everyday objects and interpret something more beautiful.
The body of work titled “Obscure Reason” by Noncedo Gxekwa consists of images taken in and around Cape Town, collected over time and placed next to each other in order to create an abstract narrative reasoning within the mind of the viewer.
Curator Lindokuhle Nkosi stated that this is only the first collective exhibition, which photographer Theodor Africa says is a strong idea. “having it specifically only 5 black photographer drew peoples attention and knowing that we wall have different background makes it even more interesting [as] we all have totally different and unique styles of photographing.
For more on the exhibition: Sthombe Esihle