'African Hospitality'

I was knocked over by this.

A series of staged photographs by artist Andrew Putter (it was exhibited in South Africa earlier this year) which draws on the style of 18th century European painting, specifically the painting African Hospitality, painted in 1790 by George Morland, that “…  shows castaways from the Grosvenor (an English ship wrecked on the Wild Coast [on what is now South African Eastern Cape coast] in 1782) being rescued by the native Mpondo …”  Others were from shipwrecked Portuguese ships. Some of the castaways “…  were taken in by local Xhosa-speaking communities. Some of these European castaways formed deep ties with their African hosts, learning the language, marrying into the tribe, and dying as Africans.”  One of this group, Bessie (that’s her in the first image in the slideshow above), “…  [later] married a chief and became a great Xhosa queen.” All the characters portrayed by Putter are real, but the portrayals are fictional– based on reconstructions. Putter’s aim is to “… make use of the past to construct images of how we might live together in the future.”

[Information from his South African gallery, Michael Stevenson]

h/t Waldo Muller

Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is the Founder and Editor of Africa is a Country. He is on the international affairs faculty of The New School in New York.

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