Thabiso Sekgala: A Close Up View of Contemporary South Africa at the Hayward Gallery, London

Copy of Thabiso Sekgala; Homeland, Jane Nkuna, Loding, former Kwandebele, 2009; Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery.jpg

The images are stark revealing abandoned spaces. Large horizons inhabited by a solitary figure at the forefront look directly at you capturing the gaze of the photographer. In some pictures derelict buildings or colourful homesteads are portrayed. Most of the images have one thing in common; the vast South African landscapes both urban and rural that form the background and interest of the late photographer Thabiso Sekgala whose exhibition entitled Here is Elsewhere is running at the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre from 28th August to 6th October 2019.

Copy of Thabiso Sekgala; Homeland, Ndeble art with new South African flag, Siyabuswa, former Kwandebele, 2011; Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery

Sekgala’s professional career only lasted four years from 2009 – 2013. During this time, he achieved international acclaim for being one of the first photographer’s to document the lives of the ‘born free generation’ after apartheid in his native South Africa. His work explores the themes of home, place, belonging and displacement: All of which are well illustrated in the exhibition, combining his Homeland series, depicting locations from his former homelands of Bophuthatswana and KwaNdebele with images taken in Bulawayo, Amman and Berlin reflecting the periods of displacement.

Thabiso Sekgala said of his work in 2013.” I am inspired by looking at human experience whether lived or imagined. Images capture our history, who we are, our presence and absence. My work is influenced by growing up in both rural and urban South Africa. The dualities of these both environments inform the stories I am telling through my photographs, by engaging issues around land, peoples’ movement, identity and the notion of home.”

Copy of Thabiso Sekgala; Homeland, Thembi Mathebulaor Nzimande, Siyabuswa, former Kwandebele, 2009; Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery.jpg

Thabiso’s work has been exhibited at LagosPhoto Festival (2015), Bamako Biennale (2015) and Les Rebcontres D’ Arles (2013) and South Africa. He was also the artist in residence at the Kunstlerhaus, Bethanien in Berlin and at the HIWAR/Durant Al Funun in Jordan.  The images of his time spent in these countries are displayed in the exhibition and carefully juxtaposed against the South African landscapes forming part of the main narrative on the relationship between the individual, identity, space and home.

Here is Elsewhere is the first solo exhibition by the artist in UK presenting 50 works by the late South African photographer that illuminate his views on a particular moment in South African political and social history. It is a free exhibition running from 28th August to 6th October 2019 at the Hayward Gallery HENI project Space at the Southbank.

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