The work depicts two boys from the Shembe Nazareth Baptist religious community, a denomination that blends Christian and Zulu traditions.
Untitled, from the series 'The Brave Ones' by Zwelethu Mthethwa, 2010
© courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY
- Digital C-print
- 150 x 190.3 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £5,000 ( Total: £11,745)
- Acquired in:
- Zwelethu Mthethwa
Its young male adherents adopt special costumes based on the kilt for religious ceremonies (the boys refer to themselves as the Iscotch). The influence is drawn from Scottish regiments that were present in Natal in the late nineteenth century. The artists concerns lie less with religious questions per se, than issues of adolescent identity expressed through religious rites of passage. His series contributes an African dimension to a well-established European and North American tradition concerned with representing teenagers at moments of transition to adulthood. Stunning on a large scale, the photograph makes a complex historical point in an accessible way and it will mark the opening of the National Galleries of Scotlands first purpose-built space for photography.