This is an important exhibition that should attract a discerning collector interested in photography that captures Africa’s complexities and diversity. But are African critics up to the task of prevailing over this complex body of work produced by Africa’s resilient photographers?
The Photography Legacy Project (PLP)and The Melrose Gallery are currently presenting Shifting Narratives, an exciting group exhibition of photographic works from across the African continent. Over 40 photographers are participating in the exhibition which is being presented online on a viewing room on www.themelrosegallery.com until 3 April, 2022.
This exhibition follows on from the well received inaugural PLP auction last year co hosted with contemporary art auction Aspire Auctions.
The exhibition brings together an exciting diversity of subject matter ranging from social and physical landscapes to the private interiors, from gender-based issues to surfing culture. There is no doubt that the exhibition reflects the ingenuity and commitment of African photographers who continue to practice their craft despite extreme challenges.
And the challenges are many, and they are not only related to the practicalities of an enabling environment of capturing life on photographs, such as a general lack of resources, limited opportunities to exhibit their works at art fairs and commercial galleries, and therefore lacking market access for their art.
These are of course hindrances in growing the market for photography, and that exposing the photography to collectors. There is one more important issue that has proven to be problematic when it comes to the development for market appetite for African photography. Let us park that point or now, and I will come to it later.
For now let us look at the quality of participating photographers and their work in order to appreciate why Shifting Narrative is an important contribution to the development of a market for African photography, and that is in the process exposing these photographers and their work to collectors.
Award-winning Zimbabwean, Tamary Kudita’s project, African Victorian that won the Open Photographer of the Year, at the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards is featured.