AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Friday, April 25th, 2014

Rwanda and the NY Times: On those images by Pieter Hugo pairing perpetrators and victims of the 1994 Genocide

“Portraits of Reconciliation,”–the photo-essay commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide–published recently in the New York Times, is a deeply disturbing piece of journalism.  Profoundly banal, the subtitle states, “20 years after the genocide in Rwanda, reconciliation still happens one encounter at a time.” Repetitive and reductive,  the narrative reduces violence to a set of meaningless

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Pieter Hugo on ‘political correctness’

Pieter Hugo, the critically acclaimed South African photographer, has done an interview with Guernica (H/T Glenna Gordon) in which he seems to be taking issue with criticisms of his work, especially the “Nollywood” series: “It’s quite scary when academics start...

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

What Pieter Hugo’s photographs stand for or what they can and cannot tell

In a guest post Andrea Stultiens writes about Pieter Hugo retrospective at The Hague Museum of Photography (The Netherlands). "The exhibition in The Hague also made me realize that I am not the only person overestimating and...

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Pieter Hugo’s Nollywood

I first saw Pieter Hugo’s ““Nollywood” at the opening party for his exhibit at Michael Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, in January 2008. I went with a group of my students from the State University...

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Pieter Hugo’s Nollywood

You can see most the photographs from Hugo’s “Nollywood” project (now a book) on his website, along with an introduction by Federica Angelucci and an essay, “Nollywood Confidential” by Cape Town-based Stacy Hardy. The actual book also...

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Can forgiveness that is mandated by a government be genuine?

Reviewer Neil Genzinger (in The New York Times) writes about the new documentary film, "Coexist" (to be shown on US public television this month) about post-genocide Rwanda, 20 years later. The film, according to Genzinger, "... at...

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

New Photography Book Depicts the South African Social Landscape

Between 2012 and 2013, an exercise took place known as the France South Africa Season. This bilateral initiative was aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. In 2012 South Africa hosted France for a wide range...

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Gideon Mendel’s photographs of people affected by flooding

South African photographer Gideon Mendel is best known for his work on HIV/AIDS in the monograph “A Broken Landscape” (2001) and in projects with big-name NGOs. He is a six-time winner of the World Press Photo Award...

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The Afronauts nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

On April 19th, the Deutsche Börse photography prize will open at London’s Photographers’ Gallery. Awarded annually since 1996, the prize has an impressive list of recipients — Jeurgen Teller, Walid Raad, Paul Graham, John Stezaker, to name but...

Monday, December 31st, 2012

2012′s SMH (also known as “Africa is a Country”) Moments

There are times we shake our heads or roll our eyes. When we could not invent some of the things that we spot in the media. For some reason especially New York Times journalists can’t help themselves...

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The end of “the colonial gaze”?

The weekend after Hurricane Sandy hit NYC, AIAC’s Sean Jacobs and I (we’re academics in our day jobs) attended Encounters with the African Archive, a symposium at New York University. The symposium coincided with the exhibition series Distance and...

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Kaleidoscope goes to Africa

The summer issue of Kaleidoscope, a contemporary art magazine based in Milan, is devoted to ‘art and culture produced in (or related to) the African continent today.’ It’s full of good stuff. Many of the artists we’ve...

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Spoek Mathambo’s World

No we’re not on a mini-Spoek Mathambo marathon today. Intrigued by Spoek’s remix of Seun Kuti and the trailer for his new album, we googled Spoek anew and stumbled upon this video of a 2011 presentation Spoek gave...

Monday, December 19th, 2011

2011′s Music Video Picks

Inexplicably absent in this year’s fashionable blogs’ and magazines’ year-end lists are videos by African artists, or those videos recorded somewhere in Africa. I’ve picked ten which I think stood out. South Africans Pieter Hugo and Michael...

Monday, December 19th, 2011

10 photographers to watch in 2012

As part of a series of year-end posts--we're taking a break from Friday, December 23, till January 5, 2012, we're hoping to post 10 "Lists of 10" this week. (We're trying to be cool by calling it...

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Hulk Hogan in Kinshasa

Kinshasa’s unique brand of professional wrestling culture has suddenly attracted a number of artists and photographers to the city. They include Colin Delfosse (above), Benedicte Kurzen, Gwenn Dubourthoumieu, Vincent Boisot, Pieter Hugo and Keith Harmon Snow. Like...

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Found Objects No. 17

‘Mr. Mkhize’ is a short documentary of a three-month journey photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin undertook in 2003, commissioned by the South African government. What makes it remarkable is not just the silence in between the portraits, usually...

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Recycling Rubbish

Many of you know those spectacular images of burning computer parts and beautiful, sad young men, taken in some God-forsaken corner of polluted Ghana where the ‘West’ has dumped all its obsolete toys to be ‘recycled’. Now,...

Friday, August 5th, 2011

‘The garden boy’s picture on the wall’

Earlier this year, while I was in Cape Town, I interviewed Emma Bedford, a specialist in painting, watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture at Strauss and Co., fine art auctioneers based in Cape Town. I asked her about...

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Weekend Special

A few of those things we missed, tweeted or could not get to:

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Beyoncé and the Hyena

American R&B singer Beyonce has described the new video for her single “Run This World (Girls)” as “futuristic,” “electronic” and “African.” Of the overload of half-references in the video, some things came to mind: Pieter Hugo‘s hyena...

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Skin-Deep

Photographs are perceived to represent reality in their reference to a subject; their ability to create these physical, indexical connections to reality in viewers’ minds means that photography is often unquestioningly used as “visual recorder” or as...

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

‘Contemporary South African Photography’

A short video profile of the Johannesburg photographer, Sabelo Mlangeni, one of 17 South African photographers in “Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography“, showing from 12 April through 17 July this year at the...

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

The first-encounter aesthetic rush

If you’re wondering what took us so long to say something about South African rapper Spoek Mathambo’s new music video — for his cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” , well, we can’t make up our...

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Viva Tanzania

For all the gross, lurid news stories or the films you see about fatal  violence against, and neglect of people suffering from albinism in East Africa, this one about Tanzanians electing an albino, Salum Khalfani Barwani, to...

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

SuperFans

We’ve profiled South African photographer Pieter Hugo before (here and here) and he is now back with an exhibition running until July 3 at Colette in Paris. Featured are his 2005 portraits of supporters of Johannesburg football...

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Is this Nollywood?

With few exceptions, I usually celebrate South African photographers. Among them is Pieter Hugo, whose most recent work, “Nollywood”– a series of portraits recreating what for Hugo represents “archetypical characters” from the southern Nigerian film industry–opens tonight...