Picture by: Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo

The Of Soul and Joy's exhibition officially kicked off the Stop Sign Gallery in Newton, Johannesburg on Thursday.

We chatted with the project manager and mentor, Jabulani Dhlamini about the programme.

The Of Soul and Joy was launched in 2012 in Thokoza,  Ekurhuleni, East of Joburg with the aim to develop artistic skills in the field of photography among the youth.

"Our goal is to provide an understanding of photography as a means of expression", said Dhlamini.

Fast forward to 2018 and 17 of their students will showcase their work for the first time at Stop Sign Gallery.

"Most of our students have never exhibited their artistic work in a gallery space, so we want to give the exposure and experience. Through this exhibition, we offer students an opportunity to show their work in a professional gallery and fulfilling our mission to support early career photographers”.

Dlamini further explained that the students are enrolled in different tertiary institutions, sponsored by the organisation.

"Each year the most promising students are awarded a scholarship to pursue their studies in photography in a university of their choice.

"Some of our students have gone on to further their photography studies at Market Photo workshop and other tertiary institutions. Most recently,  Lindokuhle Sobekwa was announced as one of Magnum Foundation's 2018 grantees.

The foundation provides grants and project development support to artists exploring new models of storytelling. Sobekwa was chosen from a pool of 151 proposals from 29 different countries. 

The 2018 recipients will receive intensive training in New York City to become effective storytellers, creative leaders and change makers.

Dlamini also stated that the run workshops in and around Thokoza township. The after-school programme takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

"We invite local and international photographers to share their work with the students and also to give advice them advice and guidance."

Some the photographers that have been involved in the programme includes renowned David Goldblatt, Buyaphi Mdledle and Tshepo Gumbi, Ian Berry, Stuart Franklin, Thomas Dworzak and Mark Power who will be conducting workshops at the gallery.

Through the mentorship and support offered by the Of Soul and Joy initiative, the students continue to develop an important photographic testimonial on the realities of township life and its present-day challenges through the eyes of the young people.

"We encourage our students to tell their personal stories through art," said Dhlamini.

Here's a sneak peek to some of the artistic work showcasing at the Stop Sign Gallery. 

The exhibition runs till August 8. Be there at 6pm evening to see the South African youth tell their stories through the lens.

Picture by Bongiwe Zungu
Picture by: Sibusiso Bheka
Picture by: Thobeka Nzwane

IOL