Since Apartheid’s  fall in 1994, South African photography has exploded from the grip of  censorship onto the world stage. A key figure in this movement is  Zwelethu Mthethwa, whose stunning portraits powerfully frame black South  Africans as dignified and defiant, even under the duress of social and  economic hardship. Working in urban and rural industrial landscapes,  Mthethwa documents a range of aspects in South Africa—from domestic life  and the environment to landscape and labor issues. His work challenges the conventions of both Western documentary work and African commercial studio  photography, marking a transition away from the visually exotic and  diseased—or “Afro-pessimism,” as curator Okwui Enwezor has referred to  it—and employing a fresh approach marked by color and  collaboration. Zwelethu Mthethwa is the artist’s long-awaited first comprehensive monograph, providing an overview of his work to-date and  featuring the stunning portraits that have brought him international  acclaim. (2010, Aperture )

Publication Date: March 2010

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