Dhlamini has carved out a name for himself as a photographer with a subtle sensitivity for documenting South Africa’s fraught past and present.
iXesha! is an early-career survey which highlights his idiosyncratic approach to photography, bringing together several bodies of work, in which the artist explores ideas around collective memory in the South African context.
According to curator Tebo- ho Ralesai, Dhlamini’s subtlety in vision stems from the fact that he sees the self as equally important to the collective: “This translates into shooting quiet moments and symbolic objects, often pointing away from the action, which can, in turn, resonate very powerfully with a sense of collective feeling and memory.”
It follows hot on the heels of Dhlamini’s solo exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg this year, which featured work from his most recent series, iQhawekazi (2018), in which the artist captured the atmosphere surrounding the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, turning his camera toward symbolic expressions of mourning and memory, such as the informal street memorials that coalesced around her memorial in Soweto.
Several never-before-seen photographs from this series - published in the Financial Times special Millennial Edition in April - will feature in iXesha!. These will be shown alongside work from other series, such as Recaptured (2016), which was exhibited earlier this year in an exhibition Dhla- mini was chosen to take part in by the late David Goldblatt at the French Institute in Joburg.
Recaptured (2016) explores the interaction between personal and collective memory within the context of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre. From 2013 to 2016, Dhlamini spent time with South Africans who experienced the trauma of the massacre, seeking to create a representation of social memory by photographing objects which triggered individual recollections of that day.
Born in Warden, Free State in 1983, Dhlamini held his first solo exhibition at the Market Photo Workshop Gallery in Joburg in 2012, and the following year, his first commercial exhibition at the Goodman Gallery, 176 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock. iXesha! will be exhibited at this gallery from July 26 to August 25.