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

FACE IT – THE STIGMA EXHIBITION (article first published : 2008-08-9)

Photographer and artist Damien Schumann has spent the last eighteen months investigating the secrets and fears of people you pass on the streets, are friends with and work with, and are related to. He studies issues that always seem to happen to someone else. But, ironically, one would never know, as stigma forces people into secrecy or denial. Hence no assistance is ever granted, or received.

His exhibition Face It – The Stigma Exhibition is prompted by the dictionary meanings of the word stigma:

stigma, n. (pl.~s, & ~ta as specified below). 1. (arch.). Mark branded on slave, criminal etc. 2. Imputation attaching to person’s reputation; stain on one’s good name. 3. (Path.) definite characteristic of some disease. (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 4th Edition)

In an attempt to motivate change and create dialogue, people from every corner of society have stepped forward and (many for the first time) have revealed the stigma attached to challenges they face in life. This intimate collection of stories Schumann has gathered is portrayed through books of photography and text, and stories on MP3 players. The project serves as an example that nothing is what is seems, and drives home a strong conclusion that the key stumbling block to positive change is the way we think, and a lack of acceptance of the unknown.

This exhibition was seen earlier this year at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown before moving to the KZNSA. It will be shown simultaneously at the KZNSA and the XVllth International Aids Conference in Mexico City.

Face It – The Stigma Exhibition runs at the KZNSA until August 24.

The KZNSA Gallery is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban. Contact 031 277 1703, fax 031 201 8051, email: curator@kznsagallery.co.za or visit www.kznsagallery.co.za




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