[Commissions, Free, Exhibitions, Outdoor, Premiere]
29 April 2022 - 29 July 2022
Southbank Promenade (outdoor) [i]
Southbank Promenade, Southbank
The legacies of colonialism and apartheid echo in many forms of social practice in contemporary South Africa. Ibhish’ laseThekwini (the Durban beachfront), a seaside public space, is imbued with a racialised tension. Historically, the beach was the nation’s premier seaside destination and drew crowds of white beachgoers. Since the 1990s, the crowds have changed, making the central beaches predominantly black, particularly in the summer which has been met with abjection.
Through film photography and aerial photography, Nyawose have been documenting black beachgoers to re-inscribe black social life ebhishi (at the beach). The notion of the ocean as a witness is a key photographic interest. We might think of the ocean as a subject which holds memory. This is particularly important in Nyawose’s work, as it looks at the self in relation to the ocean, and engages with the beach as a meeting point of black people in summer and as an articulation of an unnameable space (a metaphysical realm) beyond the constraints of capitalist leisure crucial for spiritual survival.
Saidiya Hartman (2019) argues that the past is not a time that is over; it is a historical force that produces our now. It is important, therefore, to address the invisibility of black social life in public spaces. Through Nyawose’s work, the artist is contributing to a contemporary archive of black life ebhishi, one with humanising, tender and intimate moments, aimed at inscribing our place in the seaside eThekwini.
Commissioned by Photo Australia and the City of Melbourne