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Goodman Gallery South Africa Opens “Against the Grain”

March 18th-15 April 2023 | South Africa


Imagine a world without photography – it would be like a blank canvas with no colours. Fortunately, we have the camera, a magical device that allows us to capture and immortalize precious moments, stunning landscapes, and the raw realities of life that we may have missed with our naked eye. And now, the Goodman Gallery is taking the camera to new heights with their latest exhibition.



Goodman Gallery, one of the most prestigious contemporary art galleries in South Africa, has opened a new exhibition titled Against the Grain, featuring photographic works by five artists from South Africa and the United States. The exhibition runs from 18 March througho 15 April 2023 and features works by Ernest Cole, David Goldblatt, Ruth Motau, Ming Smith, and Lindokuhle Sobekwa. The exhibition celebrates photography as a medium of expression and resistance, highlighting the power and diversity of the medium.


Ernest Cole’s photographs in the exhibition depict South African society under apartheid rule, showcasing the oppression and injustice faced by Black South Africans. David Goldblatt, on the other hand, focused on the implicit conditions of South African society rather than the climactic outcomes of those conditions, highlighting the same pervasive and traumatic realities of South African society through his subtle approach. By grouping rare vintage prints by Goldblatt and Cole, the exhibition opens a dialogue between their distinct approaches while offering moments where perspectives coexist.


Ming Smith, the first female member of the Kamoinge Workshop, captures intimate moments of everyday life in a poetic and experimental style that blurs the boundaries between documentary and art. Ruth Motau's work focuses on documenting social issues and human interest stories, portraying the diversity and vibrancy of South African culture. Lindokuhle Sobekwa’s photographs are intimate, empathetic, and honest, revealing the complexities and contradictions of his subjects’ realities.


America Seen Through Stars and Stripes, New York City, NY,1976 Ming Smith America Seen Through Stars and Stripes, New York City, NY,1976, 1976 Archival Pigment Print Frame: 119 x 170 x 5 cm

Against the Grain is an exhibition that celebrates the power and diversity of photography as a medium of expression and resistance. It also highlights the connections and influences among photographers from different contexts and generations, who share a common vision of documenting and challenging their social realities.


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