Celebrating Joburg in photos

13 January 2004

The photographic exhibition “Celebrating Johannesburg” kicks off the new year for residents and tourists looking for a fresh angle on South Africa’s commercial heartland, with various aspects of the city seen through the lenses of five South African photographers and one Londoner.

The five are Jurgen Schadeberg, Chris Kirchhoff, Hugh Fraser, Bettina Andrag, and Robert Rich, with Leila Amanpour from the UK.

The exhibition takes place from 9 to 26 February at the striking Absa Gallery in Main Street, and will be supported by the Johannesburg Tourism Company and Absa. The works will be on sale, and all monies will go directly to the artists as Absa will not be charging commission for works displayed.

“The photo essays capture the essence of life in the metropolitan. They’re new, exciting, and will be exhibited for the first time at ‘Celebrating Johannesburg’,” said Meredith Randall, curator of the exhibition.

Schadenburg will be exhibiting his new photo essay on Kliptown. Kirchhoff will display a photo essay on youth culture at The Zone at Rosebank, and Fraser will showcase his layered, textured photographs of Johannesburg’s landscape.

Amanpour, a freelance photographer for the London Sunday Times, will present a series of photographs on Soweto’s motorcycle gang, the Soweto Eagles, also talented acrobatic riders. Students Andrag and Rich will examine the northern suburbs in a photo essay entitled “The other side of the Tuscan wall”.

Kirchhoff and Fraser exhibited earlier versions of their work at the “Johannesburg Now” exhibition, part of the Metropolis component at the 5th Sao Paulo Biennale of Architecture and Design held in Brazil in September 2003.

“With the successful hosting of the ‘Johannesburg Now’ exhibition in Sao Paulo, it was only fitting that we carry out a similar exhibition in Johannesburg to expose these remarkable artworks to Johannesburgers – the very people who provide most of the inspiration for the photographs,” Randall said.

Deon Viljoen, CEO of the Johannesburg Tourism Company, said of the exhibition: “Johannesburg is in the midst of exciting times. We are a melting pot of diverse cultures, talents and features. Not only do we need to look to our bold history to entrench the City’s uniqueness, but also to current developments.

“All these elements will be cleverly depicted in the photo essays at the ‘Celebrating Johannesburg’ exhibition, which guarantees a refreshing visual experience for visitors.”

Viljoen is hoping that the exhibition will be an added attraction for tourists to the city, as well as drawing residents into the inner city.

Source: City of Johannesburg website