Umhlaba Wethu This is Our Land: 100 year commemoration of the 1913 Land Act

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About the Exhibition

The Land Act of 1913, and associated legislation that was to follow during the apartheid period, had a devastating effect on the country and on the lives of millions of black South Africans. This photographic exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to follow a century-long journey into the history of the land, into land struggles, forced labour and child labour, removals, and last ditch stands. Historical photographic material gleaned from archives is exhibited alongside modern and contemporary work in new ways to explore the romance with and realities of the land, both in the past and the present.

The exhibition will be the largest photographic exhibition ever hosted on the land issue in South Africa. It involves more than 30 photographers and 12 archives, curated by David Goldblatt, Bongo Dhlomo, Pam Warne and Paul Weinberg. Photographic research, undertaken by Gail Behrmann, involved many individuals and various institutions. 

The anniversary of the 1913 Land Act offers an important opportunity to tell the story in ways it has never been told before. The curators have developed a narrative about land which includes an exploration of archival photographs, and the work of committed photographers who have engaged with this issue for over a century, as well as music and audio visual

The exhibition travels in time from the past to the present day, offering insights into the complexisty and contested nature of this landscape, asking questions about how land is signified and used, and the multiple meanings it has for those who live on it.

The Iziko National Gallery is hosting the exhibition, which is co-curated by Paul Weinberg of UCT Library and David Goldblatt, the pre-eminent documentary photographer. Both have spent much of their careers exploring the contested nature of land and landscape in South African society. The exhibition will be a public event, addressing all four conference themes visually. Archbishop Ndungane will give the keynote address to open the exhibition.

You can read news and reviews of the exhibition on our news page.



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