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The Photography Legacy Project Raises Funds Through First Of Its Kind Auction In South Africa

Film

Nov. 2, 2020, 4:13 p.m.

South African photographers have partnered Pan-African counterparts to participate in the first ever African photography auction on the continent.

The auction, initiated by the Photography Legacy Project (PLP), will be hosted by Aspire Art Auctions on 5th November 2020. The PLP is an initiative that aims to ensure significant collections of African photography can remain on the continent and made widely accessible for education and research

A collection of pan-African works, straddling the terrain between historical and contemporary photography, will be on auction this November to support the digitisation of African photographic legacies by the PLP with the aim of raising the profile of African photography globally.

“The under representation of African artists and photographers has contributed to a visceral representation gap of black artists within collections globally. To date, African artists represent less than 1% of the overall market,” say Ruarc Peffers, Managing Director (MD) of Aspire Art Auctions.

“It is through efforts of organisations such as PLP that we are able to grow the value of artists from Africa to be more in-line with their American and European counterparts,”he added

One of the attractions is a portfolio of 12 silver gelatin prints presented by the Ernest Cole Family Trust of Ernest Cole’s, the first black South African freelance photographer. The portfolio, from his seminal 1967 book House of Bondage, is part of Cole’s recovered legacy.

Other photographic luminaries such as David Goldblatt, Alf Kumalo, photographers from South Africa’s popular Drum Magazine including Bob Gosani, G.R. Naidoo, Ranjith Kally and Ian Berry, as well as more contemporary internationally acclaimed photographers like Guy Tillim, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Jo Ractliffe, Emmanuelle Andrianjafy, Syowia Kyambi and Mikhael Subotzky share their work with a diverse platform of creative talent.

Significantly, there is also a large group of contemporary emerging photographers from South Africa, several of them graduates of Market Photo Workshop, a South African school of photography, gallery and resource centre.

The auction additionally features photographers based in Sudan, Ghana, Senegal, Angola, Namibia and Kenya, including work from Sudanese photographer Ala Kheir’s Revisiting Khartoum series, and recent images by Ghanaian photographer Nipah Dennis.

There is a compelling contribution of vernacular studio and street photography from the project, The Other Camera. Increasingly, this genre of vernacular photography – encapsulated by the iconic images of Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé, two influential photographers from Mali, is becoming rare and collectable. The once ever-present studio or street photographer, so prevalent throughout the continent, is a diminishing practice. The studio portrait that is deeply part of Africa’s photographic history, is being superseded by the quick fix mobile phone or selfie. The auction showcases some of these rare collections by photographers such as Ronald Ngilima and William Matlala.

Amongst the well-known and emerging, are photographers who have been plying their trade for decades. These include award-winning photographers and established names. The auction can also, much like the PLP’s vision, be seen as a vehicle to recover, celebrate, and present hidden and buried work of photographers who have stepped up to share iconic as well as new images.

Proceeds of the fundraiser auction will go towards the PLP and the participating photographers.

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Dorcas

Dorcas Benewaa Author

Dorcas is an upcoming journalist. She loves the creative arts and loves to write about startups, digital arts and issues in the tech sector.

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