Young local photographer wins coveted international photography prize
A young photographer from Johannesburg has bagged maximum bragging rights after his work, a photographic collage titled Slaghuis was recognized at the 2019 Contemporary Photography Prize (CAP) this past week.
Hlatshwayo, a Lawley, Johannesburg native documented in his collage Slaghuis his emotions and reality surrounding his existence.
The title Slaghuis which is colloquially known as butchery, is said to have been used by him to invoke the imagery of slaughtering, massacre, which makes a socio-political comment on the physical space he hails from, as well as the social state of that area.
He discovered his talent for photography as a part of the 'Of Soul and Joy' photography initiative, a township based grouping that helps youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds find expression in photography.
He was also awarded the 2019 Giséle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography.
Hlatshwayo was one of the five winners of the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography 2019 who were announced at photo basel international art fair and selected by an international panel of 19 judges from 25 shortlisted artists.
His artist statement below expresses the difficulty he had with coming to terms with his environment:
My room is a mess. I can’t keep it tidy. I don’t try hard enough.
I am ashamed. I am accountable. I am afraid. I am angry. I want out. I want to get bloody violent.
Is it passed on? Is it intergenerational?
I have a fear of being an adult with a really messed up room. Something is not quite appealing in that.
Growing up in a home with a tavern, I have been confronted with realities that made me want to escape the space. A place of refuge or safe haven should have been my home, but it couldn’t be because it was the extension of the tavern. Maybe my mind – but it too was violated.
It became a tricky escape. The violence and schizophrenia of a society would be enveloped in this one space. It was ‘my bread and butter’— it’s infamy coined it ‘Slaaghuis’.
Loudest in their silence, I confront the unresolved issues I have with the tavern. I confront my violated or perhaps traumatised mind. I confront the memory.
A drunken violence A drunken depression A drunken fear
A drunken last A drunken happiness
A drunken abuse A drunken love A drunken rape
A drunken fuck A drunken anxiety A drunken death
A Societal trauma.
The personal is political.
The microcosm is the macrocosm.
And vice versa.