Published: August 9, 2010
Consulting curator Tosha Grantham and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) have created an exhibition that highlights photography’s role in South Africa’s complex transformation from apartheid to integration. “Darkroom: Photography and New Media in South Africa since 1950,” will open August 21 and run through October 24 at both the VMFA, 200 North Boulevard, and the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, 1812 West Main Street.
This exhibition features the work of 18 photographers, new media and video artists who lived and worked in South Africa during the apartheid era (1948‱994). “Darkroom” includes 18 artists who span four generations: 14 are South African; 4 are from England, the United States and Germany, and either made South Africa their home or created significant bodies of work there. Featured artists are: William Kentridge, Robin Rhode, Jürgen Schadeberg, Nontsikelelo Veleko and Sue Williamson.
Eight sections highlight the ways that these artists have addressed South African culture from various perspectives, and their increased presence in the global art world since 1994. “Darkroom” examines how analog and digital media, still and moving pictures, and two- and three-dimensional formats are used to express relationships between mid-Twentieth Century approaches and more recent ones, and differing concerns among artists of successive generations.
Two-thirds of the exhibition will be at the VMFA, and one-third will be featured at the Visual Arts Center. A companion exhibition by contemporary South African artist and Richmond resident, Siemon Allen will be on view at the Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, 907½ West Franklin Street.
Through the combination of vintage prints, recent photographs, photo-based installations and video art, “Darkroom” underscores photography’s role in documenting some of apartheid’s most riveting moments, while considering myriad ways that South Africans resisted apartheid, and have emerged from it. These works have never been shown together in the United States.
A traveling exhibition, “Darkroom,” will open at the Birmingham (Alabama) Museum of Arts, 2000 8th Avenue North, in January.
Accompanying the exhibition is the catalog/book Darkroom: Photography and New Media in South Africa since 1950 by Tosha Grantham ($35). The book won the gold medal in the Multicultural Non-Fiction Adult category of the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards.
For information, 804-340-1400 or http://www.vmfa.state.va.us .
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