Friday, 11 September 2020

Expressions - A Jazz Photographic Exhibition @ FotoZA, Rosebank

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Photographer Siphiwe Mhlambi curates his exhibition -  Expressions -  at FotoZA Gallery in Rosebank

Johannesburg - Legendary photographer Siphiwe Mhlambi presents a selection of his jazz work taken from over a period of three decades - Expressions - A photographic Jazz exhibition showing at Gallery FotoZA based in Rosebank, Johannesburg one of South Africa's biggest and leading art galleries, for the month of September 2020. Visit the gallery free of charge and enjoy the exhibition, walkabouts and if you are fortunate you might have a word or two with the photographer himself, and you could take one or two portraits at a very reasonable price. On Saturdays you get to be treated to live jazz performances in two sessions on offer: 11:00am - 11:45am and 13:00pm - 13:45pm. There is no better way to immerse yourself in the work of Siphiwe Mhlambi on the walls than by listening to the real thing being played at the same time. This is one not to be missed!  If you plan on attending in person, please note that the organisers will be adhering to a strict event and social distancing policy including limiting numbers in the gallery at any one time to less than 50 people. “Please note that once we are capacity on the day we will have to ask you to wait outside until space becomes available. Please also note that No Mask = No Entry policy will apply. No booking is required, spaces will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis,” said the organisers. 

The Essence Of the Exhibition 

In this visionary exhibition, legendary documentary and jazz photographer, Siphiwe Mhlambi, takes a bold and crucial look at jazz as a special art form. He succeeds in blending his possessed soul with that of the artist’s into the instruments, the self-expression, ambiance, mood, and magical music. The exhibited images reveal how he too is possessed of the spirit of jazz and draws his audience into the life of the musician’s soul fire and into the music itself. The photographs immediately become a custodian of the imagination and a mirror of the individual artist's soul. 

Describing his work 

Bongani Mandodo -   a veteran pop culture curator and writer describes Siphiwe Mhlambi's portraits and poetic visual reportage of the local jazz (music...broadly )scene, especially recent work in the last decade or so, as “ sneakingly and quite brazenly redefining that photographic "genre" at least in this country. His compositions, texture, intuitive alertness, and connection to the live ritual itself, as well as the manner through which he visually captures the moment; synaptically frame freezes life in his singular optic-operatic calmness, has become the music itself. It is an addition to the unexplored scholarship of optic/visual life as a metaphor of sound, and in return Sound as repository and storage of Colour...reservoir of dreams.” He continues to say: “ You look at his work and no matter whether you were present at the shows he photographed or not  you start hearing music in your head. In that way, Mhlambi is a meta-fictional addition and session player of the bands he photographs: He assigns himself, without imposing or making himself too visible, a visual and virtual conductor (see the feature flick "V-For Vendetta" or Gary Oldman conducting an imaginary orchestra in his head in Jean Reno's "The Professional" ). He is definitely an accompanist ...the camera as the only instrument he masters in the time-traveling art of a concert as a continuous spiritual drama.” Madondo then adds that Mhlambi’s best work extends the stage performance over and beyond its physical real-time. “Mhlambi doesn't deal with "real" time as much as with "surreal" timelessness. While he foregrounds the artists at work, he does that by putting them to work beyond the concert. The best photographers are dream weavers. Mhlambi is part of that circle and cycle. He's been good for over decades but not as sublime and game-changing as he is now. Shows practice and dogged obsession about yo 'shit' pays off. One word: A (we)man!” 

A giving heart  Back in 2018 , after globally renowned jazz musician Bra Hugh Masekela’s passing, Mhlambi graciously donated three images taken by him of the legend to Ubuntu Pathways an NGO based in both South Africa and the UK. These images we auctioned during their London fundraising gala dinner on May 16th, 2018.  Where they paid tribute to Bra Hugh Masekela at the beginning of the evening, so it felt very appropriate to open the auction with Siphiwe’s photographs which so wonderfully celebrated this South African Jazz icon’s life and career.The images fetched £4,000 [in and these essential funds went towards aiding to place of vulnerable children in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 


Prepared on behalf of Photographer Siphiwe Mhlambi

Contact Phindile Xaba @ 0826694064 to arrange for interviews with Siphiwe Mhlambi.

Notes to Editors and Journalists Short Bio - THE PHOTOGRAPHER SIPHIWE MHLAMBI
Multiple award-winning photographer Siphiwe Mhlambi is the founder of African Sky Media. He has captured the history of South Africa through his lens. From the children dancing in the dusty townships of South Africa to kings, presidents, and statesmen of the world. From guns blazing during apartheid to the peaceful marches to democracy.He has captured through his lens life and death, celebration and mourning, fear and hope, love and hate, music, and song. Siphiwe’s expressions of jazz have captivated audiences for nearly three decades. His work has traveled to every corner of the world and continues to be sought by galleries as it is commissioned by universities, institutes, governments, and celebrities.