Looking in from the outside
Pieter Hugo’s new exhibition explores the politics of economic division, writes Monique Pelser.
South African photographer Pieter Hugo, Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Visual Art 2007, falls into the white, upper-to-middle-class, Afrikaans, heterosexual male demographic.
Hugo sees himself as an outsider looking into pockets of culture in South and Southern Africa and abroad. He states: “I’m white, I’m African, but I have mixed feelings towards communities, so I look at them.”
And look at them he does. He travels almost obsessively, pulling himself outside his comfort zone as a means of isolating himself, which he says heightens his observation.
In his exhibition — on show at Grahamstown’s National Arts Festival in the Monument Gallery — Hugo’s massive photographic prints, mounted on to aluminum, focus on the town formerly known as Messina.