RISE AND FALL OF APARTHEID:
PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE BUREAUCRACY OF EVERYDAY LIFE
13.02.2014 – 29.06.2014 / Museum Africa, Newtown, Johannesburg
An exhibition organized by the International Centre of Photography
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About the Concept:
“Rise and Fall of Apartheid” offers the first comprehensive historical overview of the pictorial response to apartheid ever undertaken. Through its images, this exhibition explores the significance of the 50-year-long civil rights struggle, from how apartheid defined and marked South Africa’s identity from 1948 to 1994, to the rise of Nelson Mandela, and finally its lasting impact on the country’s society. The exhibition examines the aesthetic power of the documentary form – from the photo essay to reportage, social documentary to photojournalism and art – in recording, analyzing, articulating, and confronting the legacy of apartheid and its effect on everyday life in South Africa.
In 1948, after the victory of the National Party, apartheid was introduced as official state policy. Over time, the system of apartheid grew increasingly ruthless and violent toward Black Africans and other non-white communities. It not only transformed the modern political meaning of citizenship, but also invented a wholly new society. The result was a reorganization of civic, economic, and political structures that penetrated even the most mundane aspects of social existence – from housing, public amenities, and transportation, to education, tourism, religion, and businesses.
A central premise of this exhibition is that South African photography, as we know it today, was essentially invented in 1948. The exhibition argues that the rise of the National Party to political power and the introduction of apartheid as the legal foundation of governance changed the pictorial perception of the country from a purely colonial space based on racial segregation to a highly contested space based on the ideals of equality, democracy, and civil rights. Photography was almost instantaneously aware of this change and responded by transforming its own visual language from a purely anthropological tool to a social instrument, and because of this, no one else photographed South Africa and the struggle against apartheid better, more critically and incisively, with deeper pictorial complexity, and more penetrating insight than South African photographers.
Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life Exhibition catalogue Edited by Okwui Enwezor and Rory Bester
Featuring some of the most iconic images of our time, this unique combination of photojournalism and commentary offers a probing and comprehensive exploration of the birth, evolution, and demise of apartheid in South Africa.
Photographers played an important role in the documentation of apartheid, capturing the system’s penetration of even the most mundane aspects of life in South Africa. Included in this vivid and compelling volume are works by photographers such as Eli Weinberg, Alf Khumalo, David Goldblatt, Peter Magubane, Ian Berry, and many others. Organized chronologically, it interweaves images and essays exploring the institutionalization of apartheid through the country’s legal apparatus; the growing resistance in the 1950s; and the radicalization of the antiapartheid movement within South Africa and, later, throughout the world. Finally, the book investigates the fall of apartheid, including Mandela’s return from exile. Far-reaching and exhaustively researched, this important book features more than 60 years of powerful photographic material that forms part of the historical record of South Africa.
With a foreword by Mark Robbins and Okwui Enwezor; essays by Rory Bester, Okwui Enwezor, Michael Godby, Khwezi Gule, Patricia Hayes, Achille Mbembe, Darren Newbury, Colin Richards and Andries Walter Oliphant.
Published by Prestel 544 pages; approx. 100 color and 500 b/w images In English
Available in South Africa soon. For more information, please contact Jacana Media.