Through October 11, PH Centre Photo Gallery and Book Store in Cape Town presents “Point Blank,” an exhibition featuring projects by nine women highlighting the intersection of activism and photography.
Each body of work, seen in an abridged form in the show, directs the viewer to “social landscapes in need of deeper public scrutiny and action,” states the press release.
The photo “Burden, 2018” by Bongeka Ngcobo is from a series called “Extraordinary,” which looks at how women and children in rural areas typically bear the burden of collecting safe and clean water for their households. This responsibility often prohibits children from attending school or from seeking paid employment. “I am showing the thoughts, feelings and emotions of what women and children have to go through to try to better their lives in rural areas,” writes Ngcobo, who hopes the work will contribute to policy changes that facilitate easy access to clean water.
An image from Jodi Bieber’s public poster campaign, “#i,” made in collaboration with 45 youth from Johannesburg, calls attention to “young people’s visions of themselves and their country,” writes Bieber in the artist statement. Aged 15 to 23, the project’s participants didn’t grow up under apartheid and they use technology to integrate themselves with a larger global community.
Leah Hawker’s work looks at the reality of breastfeeding, a subject largely hidden from the public eye. Through the stories of 101 women, the images explore “personal truths, myths and attitudes toward the practice, inevitably raising topical questions about how women feel about themselves [and] how they are seen by others.” In a series titled “Un/Settled,” photographer Sydelle Willow Smith explores white South African history, privilege and identity. “Ikhaya” by Wandie Mesatywa pictures the doors of homes that she and her siblings lived in as young orphans following the death of both parents. Other series in the exhibition investigate sexual violence, the representation of the nude black body, personal and collective freedom, and the plight of migrant workers.
In its entirety, the exhibition emphasizes the many ways photographers go beyond facts and figures to engage viewers in topics they believe merit attention, understanding and also action.
Through October 11, 2019
PH Centre Photo Gallery and Book Store
Cape Town, South Africa