Reflections of an unsettling past

2019-03-26 10:30

Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Greg Marinovich’s work is not for the faint-hearted.

It was not of any surprise to see the blood and pain of the 1990s in his work. Those who watched The Bang Bang Club or read the book would know him as the leader of the group.

At some point in the movie he finds himself in the middle of a hostel full of what were perceived to be Inkatha Freedom Party supporters wielding machetes.

Despite the fear in his eyes Marinovich got away unharmed but with great photographs.

In conversation with Karel Nel at Constitution Hill last week, Marinovich took those attending the launch of his exhibition through the gruesome past of the killings and police brutality in the townships in the 1980s and 1990s.

Intokoza Youth Against Crime’s Jerry Marobyane with war photographer João Silva and Greg Marinovich

His work gives an unsettling feeling and he chose the perfect day – Human Rights Day – to launch the work in the gallery at Constitution Hill.

“I don’t like these pictures,” he said when he was asked about the aftereffect that photographers experience covering such stories.

Thina Miya and Elizabeth Moloto at the exhibition

Among those in attendance was his longtime friend and one of the four Bang Bang Club members, João Silva, whom he described as fearless.

The event was unlike most exhibition openings, which are held in the evening, with wine flowing and sophisticated artsy chit-chat.

Farrell Ngilima looks at some of the images

Instead, like the photographs on display, this was a sombre affair, held at 11am with tea on offer.

The event drew a lot of media people – photographers, journalists and media analysts – and visitors.

The exhibition is part of a string of events under Constitution Hill’s theme StandUp4HumanRights, part of the Human Rights Festival that started on Thursday and ends today.

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February 23 2020