Apartheid Exhibit: The Power of Photography

by: Katie Grimmer

September 20, 2012

A picture freezes a moment in time. A picture leaves a lasting impression. A picture says a thousand words.

Apartheid Exhibit WILD mag photography

Photography documented the 50-year racial struggle in South Africa and made it available to the world.

The exhibit at the International Center of Photography, “Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life,” offers nearly 500 photographs, film, books, magazines, newspapers and other archival documents of the historical period. Okwui Enwezor, the director of Haus der Kunst, Munich, and Rory Bester, an art historian, critic and documentary filmmaker, curated the exhibit after six years of extensive research.

It takes us through the significance of the “civil rights struggle, from how apartheid defined and marked South Africa’s identity from 1948 to 1994, to the rise of Nelson Mandela, and finally its lasting impact on society,” the ICP press release stated.

One of the main aspects of the exhibit is to show that South African photography, as we know it today, first started in 1948, the same year apartheid began. No one documented the cultural struggle in that part of the world as well as the photographers. “It is the goal if this exhibition to explore and pay tribute to their exceptional photographic achievement,” the press release stated.

The exhibit opened to the public September 14 and runs through January 6 at the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Apartheid Exhibit WILD mag photography

Apartheid Exhibit WILD mag photography

Apartheid Exhibit WILD mag photography
South Africa, Pretoria, 1990.

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