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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

INVOICE (article first published : 2007-09-5)

Invoice is a survey show of the work of Santu Mofokeng, one of South Africa’s foremost photographers and, according to international curator Simon Njami, “One of the most important photographers of his generation”.

The exhibition is to run at the Durban Art Gallery and will include photographs from virtually all his major bodies of work produced in the period between 1982 and 2006, and is a landmark event that was designed to coincide with the photographer¹s 50th year.

Santu Mofokeng’s photographic career had its genesis in 1973 when, while still at school, he started working as a street-photographer to make money. He subsequently realized photography’s subversive potential when he saw pictures of the June 16 riots in which he was participant and witness. In the mid-1980s he joined the Afrapix Collective, an independent photographic agency that played a leading role in documenting popular resistance against apartheid during this period.

From an early stage Mofokeng exhibited an independent approach and produced images that refuse to be overtly political, but nonetheless contain a fundamental political dimension. His deviations from conventional subject matter have included photographic enquiries into spirituality - a continuing interest that produced the extraordinary series Chasing Shadows - and investigations into the meaning of “landscape” in relation to ownership, power and memory.

Santu Mofokeng has received acknowledgement for his photographic work not only locally but also in the international art world. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and has exhibited extensively in Europe and elsewhere. Recently he has participated in the international travelling exhibition Africa Remix (2004-6) and in 2004 was the only South African chosen to participate among ten foremost international photographers such as Sebastiao Salgado, James Nachtwey and Annie Leibovitz, in Beijing’s Forbidden City International Photography Festival. He has had solo exhibitions of his work in New York and Johannesburg.

Invoice has been realised through partnerships with Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg, and with Autograph ABP, London. Autograph is an international, non profit-making photographic arts agency established in the UK in 1988 to address the lack of representation for a constituency of photographers which historically has been ignored. Autograph develops, exhibits and publishes the work of photographers from culturally diverse backgrounds and advocates their inclusion in all areas of exhibition, publishing, education and commerce in the visual arts.

Invoice runs at the Durban Art Gallery from September 7 to November 6.




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