Jul 03 2014
The University Art Gallery will open the 2014-2015 exhibition season with David Southwood: N1 and Beach Boys, an exhibition that brings together two connected bodies of work by the internationally recognized South African artist: The N1 (National Road One) project, and Beach Boys. Both projects combine photography with social commitment, and both explore transitional, marginal places and the question of what it takes to make a “place.” Southwood will speak about his work on September 5th at 4:30 in Convocation Hall, with a brief introduction by art historian and photographer Meghan Kirkwood of North Dakota State University. Please join us for the talk and reception!
The N1 series profiles the longest freeway in South Africa, the road that connects country’s two largest cities, Cape Town and Johannesburg. It depicts, in Southwood’s words, “the highway as an awkward place, the stage for un-choreographed events, the migrating protagonists of which were never intended to use the highway.” Beach Boys also asks questions about place and its inhabitants. The series documents the lives of a group of Tanzanian stowaways who live amongst the N1 infrastructure in Cape Town. Responsibility for this group of men, living without passports or travel documentation, is not claimed by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, nor by shipping agents, nor by the government of Tanzania. The group resists the help of NGOs. The place they inhabit is similarly interstitial, in the words of Nic Coetzer this ‘place’ “is an accident, the consequence of other intentions.”
David Southwood combines photography, social commitment, and a deep interest in urban landscapes. In 2000, together with some township photographers, he set up the first non-profit organization for ‘street photographers’ in the Western Cape. The organization, Umlilo (ilisolabantu.org), remains active today. In 2004, Southwood was awarded the International Bauhaus Award for his collaborative project (with Matthew Barac and Simone le Fevre) on the theme of the contemporary city’s “transit spaces,” and in 2008 he co-curated and participated in the exhibition “Cities in Crisis” at the University of Johannesburg’s FADA Gallery. Southwood has a diverse and accomplished exhibition record. Among other venues, he has shown at the South African National Gallery, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, and the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg. Southwood lives with his dog, Cressida, in Cape Town.
Sewanee’s University Art Gallery is located on Georgia Avenue on the campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. The gallery is free, accessible, and open to the public. Hours are 10 – 5 Tuesday through Friday and 12 – 4 on Saturday and Sunday. Please call (931) 598-1223 for more information.