Thursday, October 1, 2009

Art and change

This is one of a series of photographs taken by Sue Johnson in the township of Khayelitsha, outside Cape Town in South Africa. I met Sue as she was teaching at a recent Creative Capital Professional Development Program Workshop.

Following on from her work in Cape Town between 2004 -06, sales of Sue's photographs went on to fund a small not-for-profit photography group of township residents called Iliso Labantu, which means the eye of the people. Please do visit this site and see the work of people living on the edge, "marginalized by apartheid and its legacy of poverty and unemployment" (Sue Johnson) as they photograph their world. It is a wonderful site!

What it actually means is that within the townships it is now possible in some small way to achieve individual empowerment, and a valuing/sharing of self and culture that is very new. The photographic exhibitions that are put on act as a catalyst for this, and a mixing of the so far fairly separate ethnic/economic populations in South Africa.

Over 10 years ago I visited cousins living in Cape Town, who saw the townships as dangerous slums from their viewpoint behind all the"Armed Response" notices on the walls. So it feels like something pretty special to start changing that situation.