In the striking series of photographs Golden Youth, South Africa-born Oliver Kruger documents Johannesburg’s youth culture. After visiting a street festival with a friend, the artist decided to set up a studio on the sidelines of the event and take portraits of people attending the festival. The result is a series of sensitive yet psychologically probing portraits of his sitters. On the surface, flamboyant dress gives us a very real sense of the sartorial preoccupations of Johannesburg’s youth culture. But these are not photos from fashion pages, as these intimate shots prize out an intimacy from their sitters, however tough they appear. Kruger was born in Stellenbosch in 1977 and now lives and works in Cape Town. Oliver Kruger was profiled in the November/December issue of The Kurios. Photo: From the Golden Youth series, courtesy of Oliver Kruger.
African photography is under the spotlight at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a moving exhibition of work produced in the last decade by the South African photographer Jo Ractliffe. South African photographer Jo Ractliffe (born 1961) explores the themes of conflict, history, memory and displacement with her camera. She has described her work as an attempt to “retrieve a place for memory.” Ractliffe was born in 1961 in Cape Town and currently lives in Johannesburg. She completed her BAFA and MFA degrees at the University of Cape Town. Three recent series of photographs are featured in this show, focusing on recent conflict in her native South Africa and neighbouring Angola. Her earliest series Terreno Ocupado (2007–8) was produced around five years after the end of the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002), during Ractliffe’s first visit to the capital, Luanda. Her images of shantytowns speak of struggle and land occupation, highlighting the vulnerability of the city’s infrastructure post civil war. Her photographs highlight the imprint that the Portuguese colonial occupation of Angola had on Luanda. …
South African artist Wim Botha’s expressive new series of sketches, More’s the pity, depict Michelangelo’s iconic Renaissance statue, Pietà. These 119 sketches, in oil on canvas and ink on paper, are based on a mirror image of the classic frontal view of the famous marble statue, which is found in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. Botha experiments with colour and line through the repetition of the same modified image, which is seen as abstract in some instances, and figurative in others. In this way, these works disrupt the historical and conceptual meanings of the original piece, and revitalize the work in a contemporary way. Carry on reading about Wim Botha, and see more images of his work, in the latest issue of The Kurios. Photo: Wim Botha. More’s the pity (series of 119 sketches). Photo courtesy of Stevenson Gallery.
Mawande Ka Zenzile’s bold work deals with memory, ethics, politics, the politics of representation, and history. Through compelling imagery, he often draws attention to Xhosa history and heritage. The Xhosa are the second largest cultural group in South Africa, after the Zulu-speaking nation. The artist was born in Eastern Cape, South Africa, in 1986. He is in the process of completing a BA in Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. Please continue reading about Mawande Ka Zenzile and see more images of his work in the May/June issue of The Kurios. Photo credits: Mawande Ka Zenzile, The Problem We Didn’t Create (The Death of Socrates) 2015 © Mawande Ka Zenzile. Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town/ Johannesburg. Photo: Mario Todeschini.