artist statement

The popular, projected image of Africa is deeply harmful: the exoticisation of tribal wear, the belittling of mud huts, the impact of consistent advertisements of poverty-stricken children on the perception of African countries. There is much work to be done in dismantling negative connotations and stereotypes with African communities’ cultural heritage in British society. 

 

This virtual exhibition encompassing photographs, moving portraits, a home-made playlist and photobook aim to humanise African identities, particularly focusing on Egoli, Johannesburg, the cosmopolitan city of Southern Africa. 

 

This is a re-representation: 

 

Featuring both still and moving portraiture from music and art festival, Afropunk, in Constitution Hill. Attendees interpreted the set theme ‘We see You: recognising what can be possible when we come together in fellowship, resistance, and celebration of our blackness’ through dress. 

 

Homes and traditional wear that showcase the rich history of Bantu-Speaking ethnic groups in Lesedi Cultural Village. 

 

The story of the youth subculture, Urban Pantsula, continuing the legacy of isipantsula in the streets of Alexandra. Birthed as a response to political challenges during the apartheid in townships across South Africa, the movement became a means of expression against the oppressive government through dance and dress, has evolved to resistance against socioeconomic inequalities. 

 

Editorial fashion portraits in local landmarks, Zoo Lake, a family destination for picnics and braai (BBQ) and Maboneng, the creative hub of the city.

 

Countering the one-dimensional narratives of African identity is what has motivated photojournalist, Nompumelelo Ncube to produce a celebratory body of work. To contribute to the cultural movement that has been encouraging the African Diaspora to claim their cultural heritage, no matter their place of residence. 

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In her three years of studying photojournalism at Staffordshire University, Nompumelelo is now a qualified photojournalist and aspiring fashion psychologist that captures identity, dress and culture using both documentary and fashion photography. Her practice tends to explore correlations between representation and self-image, making her work both investigative and participatory. Egoli: The City of Gold, is her final year project to conclude her studies and embark on her career to create socially conscious work that empowers communities. 

 

You can view Nompumelelo's portfolio here and to access the degree show please click here

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