BALTIC+

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin: Mr. Mkhize's portrait & other stories from the new South Africa

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin: Mr. Mkhize's portrait & other stories from the new South Africa
Library Shelf Location 18.BROO
Publication Date 2004
Description Before this portrait was taken, Mr. Mkhize had only ever been photographed twice in his life. The first time was for a pass book, which the Apartheid government used to control his movements, the second was for the identity card that allowed him to vote in the first democratic election in 1994. The struggles in South Africa have largely been documented in a very public almost sensationalist way, which, as the writer Njabulo S. Ndebele observed, has had the effect of silencing a more individual perspective. Ndebele recognises a need to focus now on the people; their experiences and their "deepest dreams for love, hope, compassion, newness and justice". Over the last year the photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have undertaken a unique project aiming to do just that. Both of South African origin, they returned to their homeland to photograph and interview a wide range of people and places across the country. Xhoi bushmen, Jewish old-age pensioners, cadets in police training camps and prison inmates: all are given visibility and voice. We learn of the dreams and fears of individuals such as Matapa Maila, a contestant in "Miss Teen South Africa" who wants to work for BMW; Tessa Davis, a female boxer at Eldorado Park, who wants a job and to be understood by her family; Mandllenkosi Noqhayi, a circumcision initiate, who wants to gain respect from his community and Mishack Masilela, a Miss Gay Soweto contestant who wants to be open about his sexuality and to marry the man that he loves. Through these personal tales and glimpses of lives, as they are actually lived, we gain insight into the wider issues facing South Africa today. Housing shortages, mass unemployment, widespread violent crime, the impact of economic immigrants and perhaps most significantly, the far reaching effect of the AIDS epidemic are given poignant expression through the minutiae of everyday experience. We see a country coming to terms with its past and looking forward to its future. A people excited by the possibility of change. This body of work was commissioned by the South African government to be shown at the opening of the new Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, March 2004. The Court is built on the site of infamous jail called "The Fort", once used by the apartheid government to house activists. Ironically the new constitution was drawn up by previous inmate of "The Fort": Nelson Mandela. In his State of the Nation address, 24 May 1994, Mandela stated that the government's "single most important challenge is to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual". The principles of this address are now enshrined in the Constitution where individuals have access to a legal system set up to protect their basic human rights.
ISBN 1904563317
Quantity 1
Authors Oliver Chanarin, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
Formats Paperback, Exhibition Catalogue
Publisher Trolley Ltd
Related Artist Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
Categories Photography, Artist (relating to a single artist/collaborative team)
Keywords Aspirations, Fear, Racial Discrimination (racism)
Related Country/Global Region South Africa
Related Gallery Photographers Gallery, London
Language English

Other Artists

Other Recent Books