37 Parliament St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000
Monday - Friday
9:00 - 17:00
Gallery MOMO is a contemporary art gallery with spaces in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. The Gallery represent a growing number of international and locally based contemporary artists with a focus on African art and art from the diaspora.
Join Gallery MOMO for a pop-up exhibition featuring The Debt Collector by George Hallett at Speakers Corner on the 2nd of August.
The history of South Africa is the history of space: who owns it, who’s lost it, who has access to it. George Hallett is a documentarian of marginalised spaces. The two series exhibited in this show - District Six and Exiles - archive figures, communities and scenes that would otherwise be lost or obscured from the public psyche.
Hallett was born and raised in District Six, and had been documenting lives that converged and enlivened the community from the time he learned to operate a camera. By 1966, when the National Party government announced that District Six was to be razed to the ground in order to make space for a new ‘white area,’ Hallett had created an intimate portrait of a vibrant neighbourhood on the brink of subjugation. This series is particularly striking for Hallett’s nuanced rather than voyeuristic approach to his subjects, maintaining the integrity of the community and its collective memory.
Hallett’s series on South African exiles has similar concerns. As the apartheid government systematically forced people out of their homes, and out of the country, dissidents were obliged to create alternative spaces in exile. Fleeing South Africa in 1970, Hallett traveled throughout Europe, compiling a portrait archive of fellow exiled South African artists, writers, and intellectuals.
As legacies of dispossession manifest contemporarily in issues of segregation, eviction, and gentrification, George Hallett’s work retains its relevance. Exhibiting Hallett’s work in Church Square - which served as the site of a slave market in the 17th and 18th centuries - is as an exigent, albeit harrowing, combination. There is work to be done to allay how histories of colonialism and apartheid continue to affect people’s everyday, material lives. But, the documentation and preservation of those histories - particularly from an artist with an eye for humanity - remains an equally important venture.
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