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NOMPUMELELO NGCOBO & VIRGINIE HAREL (article first published : 2003-04-21)

In May, the BAT Centre is to showcase the work of two dynamic young female photographers, Nompumelelo Ngcobo and Virginie Harel.

Precious Nompumelelo Ngcobo’s exhibition of black and white photographs Mina Meso (Me and My Eye) will be shown in the Menzi Mchunu Gallery.

Nompumelelo Ngcobo, of Hammarsdale, Mpumalanga, has a diploma in journalism and media studies from Damelin College and is currently in her second year of studies towards a national diploma in photography at the Durban Institute of Technology (formerly Technikon Natal).

Despite her youth, her photographs have already attracted wide critical attention, and she recently held her first solo exhibition at the Tatham Gallery in Pietermaritzburg. Her work has been published in local, national and international newspapers and magazines.

An official photographer for the 5th and 6th International Festival of the Time of the Writer, Poetry Africa Festival and the 3rd African Renaissance Day, Nompumelelo works part-time as an independent photo-journalist. Unafraid to step into an arena previously dominated by men, her work emphasises the need of all South Africans to tell their stories, or recount their dreams, in their own way. Her photographs depict ordinary people caught in candid real-life situations, unaware of the camera's eye.

"I focus on capturing the moment, documenting my society and reflecting people's narrative in pictures," the artist says.

Portraits of People at the Taxi Ranks is the title of Virginie Harel’s exhibition of black and white photographs which will be on view in the Democratic Gallery.

Virginie Harel has spent the past two years living and studying in Brixton, an area of South London famous for the rich diversity of its cultural blend - from Nigerians to Jamaicans and West Indians.

"I photographed mainly on the streets of Brixton, becoming increasingly intrigued by the development of similar cultures on the opposite side of the globe," she says. "On my return to South Africa earlier this year, I began photographing people on Durban's bustling streets, focusing chiefly on the bus and taxi ranks. From a bus driver taking a break to catch up on the daily paper, to ladies stuffing teddy bears, I couldn't ask for more fascinating subjects to photograph."

Both exhibitions will be opened on May 16 at 18h00 and will run until June 14.




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