Re-Imagining Sharpeville – a solo exhibition by 2015 Tierney Fellow Tsepo Gumbi runs at the Photo Workshop Gallery at The Market until August 28.
His exhibition is a visual investigation of contemporary Sharpeville. Seeking to explore themes and subjects that are overshadowed by historic events of 1976, Re-Imagining Sharpeville examines the “township” with a fresh vibrancy and creativity, without losing the integrity of its historical significance.
Combined with traces of childhood memories, Tsepo Gumbi, documents Sharpeville’s ordinary happenings and every day life activities to present one possible reality of life in a South African community. This body of work challenges mainstream perspective of this controversial space and calls for re-thinking, re-visioning, and re-imagining of Sharpeville.
Gumbi says of the process of developing Re-Imagining Sharpeville: “I have shifted my focus away from the well documented historical aspects of Sharpeville towards the personal and ordinary. I have filled some of my frames with traces of my childhood memories.
“The reality was at times too hard to witness, but I also had inspiring experiences. The every day life challenges and activities that are reflected in my images are a common characteristic of the present realities of life in South African townships. In the process of producing this body of work, I feel that I have been able to rethink the mainstream portrayal of township life and create a new vision for myself.”
Tsepo shaped this project in an unstructured and spontaneous manner – walking through the streets and photographing various aspects of his experience.
“In the process of walking the streets, I have become more aware as well as more engaged with my community,” said Tsepo. “I initially found it to be a challenge to interact with strangers in such an intimate manner, however over time I began to feel more comfortable with the process. I have found that within the ordinary I can discover the extraordinary.”
Tsepo was born in Sharpeville in 1982. In 2010, he enrolled to study photography fulltime at the Market Photo Workshop where he successfully completed the Foundation and Intermediate photography courses. Tsepo works as the Coordinator for the Photojournalism and Documentary Programme at the Market Photo Workshop.
The Tierney Fellowship was created in 2003 by The Tierney Family Foundation to support emerging artists in the field of photography. The primary goal of the Fellowship is to find aspiring artists who will be tomorrow’s leaders and to assist them in overcoming challenges that photographers face at the start of their careers.
The Market Photo Workshop is a division of The Market Theatre Foundation. It is based at 2 Helen Joseph Street (entrance Bus Factory), Newtown, Johannesburg.
Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.marketphotoworkshop.co.za
Opening times: 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is free.