Zwelethu Mthethwa is a South African photographer whose work has developed a new imagery and approach to the documentary form in the post-Apartheid era.

Mthethwa has pioneered the use of colour in images that present the everyday living conditions of working black South Africans with his subjects’ full co-operation. One of the Museum’s aims for the AFi collection is to acquire work that connects with Bristol’s history as a port and a site of international migration. Part of this history is Bristol’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. The two large C-prints from Mthethwa’s Sugar Cane series of portraits of contemporary cane cutters connect visually with this history. The images of modern exploitation in sugar cane farming make us look at the contemporary production and consumption of sugar and its historic links to the enslaved Africans whose exploitation enabled this. These works were presented by the Art Fund through Art Fund International.

Provenance

The artist.


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