Peregrinate – Field notes on time travel and space
Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa 21 Aug 2014 - 24 Aug 2014
Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, Untitled, from the series, No one but you (Dakar), 2014, Courtesy: Goethe Institut Johannesburg
In the framework of the 7th edition of the FNB Joburg Art Fair, the Goethe Institut Johannesbrug presents Peregrinate – Field notes on time travel and space. The exhibition features the work of three photographers: South Africans Thabiso Sekgala and Musa N. Nxumalo, and Kenyan Mimi Cherono Ng’ok.
The exhibition explores the concept of photography as a common method of investigation, discovery and representation – an act of wandering undertaken by the photographer as traveler and explorer. The works featured present travelling as an elliptical narrative encompassing various locations, and explore each photographer’s relationship to space.
Musa N. Nxumalo, Neighborhood 12, from the series In/Glorious (Neighborhood), 2009. Courtesy: Goethe Institut Johannesburg
Traversing Soweto streets, backyards in Nairobi, dusty Jordanian alleys, Peregrinate invites viewers to consider the intimate politics of home and belonging, as well as the possibilities inherent in dislocation or a lack of anchoring, and the routes one takes to find a way forward. Considering visa restrictions and the cost of airfare from one part of the African continent to the other, the exhibition bears in mind how understandings of home and land/scape – connection or disconnection to a place – are shaped by limitation, and filtered through historical, political and personal ways of seeing. Peregrinate employs the interplay of migration, the artificial aspect of borders and how the African city is rarely considered a permanent space as a premise for storytelling. By documenting ordinary places, banal everyday events, strangers, friends, family, these elements are assigned historical significance. The photographs stand as monuments to place, movement and new discoveries.
Thabiso Sekgala, Madume gafeli, from the series Second Transition, 2012. Courtesy: Goethe Institut Johannesburg
Sub-titled ‘field notes on time travel and space’, the exhibition examines spatial politics, the economics of time and travel, and the kinds of access granted to travelers. The travels of three different wanderers are juxtaposed as temporal sculptures to chronicle the personal experience of journeying within the home, neighbourhood and country, as well as the act of departing for distant places.
Jointly curated by the featured photographers – Peregrinate was conceived as the culmination of their participation in the Goethe-Institut portfolio workshop, the Photographers Master Class. Initiated in 2008 by the Goethe-Institut and Simon Njami, the Master Class provides a critical platform for emerging photographers from around the continent.