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Black Chronicles IV
16 May @ 08:00 - 31 May @ 17:00 SAST
The fourth instalment of non-profit British photographic arts agency Autograph ABP’s Black Chronicles series arrives on African shores for the first time. The series showcases previously unseen, and often thought lost, photo studio portraits of 18th and 19th century ‘black presences’ (from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia) ranging from performers, missionaries, students and sportsmen to politicians, visiting dignitaries and international royalty.
Buried in the Hulton Archive’s London Stereoscopic Company (LSC) collection for more than 125 years, the negatives of these photos were re-discovered by Autograph ABP in 2014 as part of their critically acclaimed curatorial archive research programme, The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles (2013 – present). Autograph BP’s restored photo collection is joined at this exhibition by W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Paris Albums 1900 to form an extensive study of the politics of photography in Victorian Europe and the ways in which cultural diversity and race were presented, contributing to the ongoing process of redressing the persistent absences of black narratives within the historical record.
The mere presence in Britain of the personalities photographed speaks to the complexities of colonial and imperial history in the nineteenth century. As the curators explain; “some subjects are presented in ways that convey a sense of pride, dignity and respectability, while others are, arguably, still locked in ethnographic or colonial modes of representation.” A particular highlight of the exhibition is the sound and image-based installation, The African Choir 1891 Re-imagined, comprising of 16 individual photographic portraits of the original members of the African Choir, who toured Britain in 1891. The portraits are accompanied by an evocative five-channel soundtrack of songs composed and arranged by South African artists Thuthuka Sibisi and Philip Miller as a creative re-imagining of the choirs’ 19th-century concert programme.
Sat May 19: Join a free walkabout of the exhibition led by VIAD researcher and curator Amie Soudien.
Apr 13 2018 – May 31 2018
17 Bunting Rd, FADA Building, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park
Entrance is free