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Zwelethu Mthethwa.
Photographs by Zwelethu Mthethwa. Essay by Simon Njami.
Revue Noire, Paris, France, 2012. In French & English. 108 pp., 70 color illustrations, 5¼xx¼".

Publisher's Description

Zwelethu Mthethwa graduated at Michaels School (Fine Arts) and an MFA in Art (Rochester Institute of Technology). First a painter and watercolorist, in 1980 he photographed the people living in slums and workers. 'Most photographers use B&W photography when working in informal settlements to make a dark and gloomy atmosphere. I chose the color because emotionally there are more advantages. My goal is to show the pride of the people. I find rich and eclectic styles in cheap materials used for the decoration of houses.'

One can tell that Zwelethu Mthethwa is a painter and a photographer. Ever since he began to take his first photographs, his work has bespoken an inclination for careful compositions and colours which are always cleverly restrained, measured. Colour is an expression of intimacy with the soul. Colour represents light. His images also betrayed from the outset traits of a very sophisticated classicism. They are the kind of paintings that we have not seen produced for centuries, paintings which seem like they should adorn hypothetical family homes, stately mansions or manor houses; paintings which, just like those people who seem to live in a past which prolongs the memory, seem to project themselves into the future, in other words into immortality. —Simon Njami


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