After acclaimed viewings in Munich, Milan, and New York, Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life opens in Johannesburg at Museum Africa. Organised by the International Center of Photography in New York, Rise and Fall of Apartheid features the work of more than 70 South African photographers and artists, including over 800 images, 27 films, and a book.
The exhibition examines the legacy of the apartheid system and how it penetrated even the most mundane aspects of social existence in South Africa, from housing, public amenities, and transportation to education, tourism, religion, and businesses. Complex, vivid, evocative, and dramatic, it includes nearly 500 photographs, films, books, magazines, newspapers, and assorted archival documents and covers more than 60 years of powerful photographic and visual production that forms part of the historical record of South Africa. Several photographic strategies, from documentary to reportage, social documentary to the photo essay, were each adopted to examine the effects and after-effects of apartheid's political, social, economic, and cultural legacy. Curated by Okwui Enwezor with Rory Bester, the exhibition proposes a field of narratives about diverse photographic practice from colonial ethnographic studies to “insurrectional” image-making during apartheid, with some reflection on contemporary, post-apartheid views.