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Photography Exhibition by Queer Artists from South Africa and Sussex

KOOP PROJECTS in Kemp Town is hosting a group exhibition of Photography by queer artists from South Africa and Sussex.

A first of its kind in Brighton, the exhibition brings together six compelling artists to tell stories of queer life - written in photographs. South Africans Nonzuzo Gxekwa, Thembela Dick, Kwakohuhle Phakathi and Troye Alexander Shannon meet Sussex-based Soham Joshi and Kobi Orion in a celebratory visual conversation for LGBTQ+ history month.

This Kind Of Light is an exhibition for exploration and discovery: places, faces and bodies in a search for identity and belonging; boundaries, both psychological and geographical uncovered; new and significant voices working in Photography found.

The title of the exhibition is taken from an interview with the Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera. Vera, who died in 2005 of AIDS related meningitis was engaged throughout her life with issues around identity and gender and addressed many taboo subjects in her work.

Of her writing practice she said “Writing is light, a radiance that captures everything in a fine profile. This light searches and illuminates, it is a safe place from which to uncover the emotional havoc of our experience.

Light is a bright warmth which heals. Writing can be this kind of light. Within it I do not hide. I travel bravely beyond that light into the shadows that [it] creates and in that darkness it is also possible to be free..”

These six photographers are also engaged in the practice of writing with light. The selection of photographs cuts across studio portraits, fashion, street photography, documentary and experimental work focused on technique and process.

Themes and subjects in the work are centred around ideas of self and place and around matters of light and shadow. Nonzuzo Gxekwa’s cinematic dramas capture singular moments in the light filled streets of Johannesburg, Kwazakuhle’s blurred images of faces and bodies in South African townships appear to be lit by flames; Troye Shannon’s eye is drawn to the dark corners of nightclubs and the stark white light around a bloodied bathroom sink; soft light infuses the internal psychological drama in Thembela Dick’s intimate images.

Skin is touched, bodies exposed, a gaze returned. Light is also not present in a series of film negatives describing the positive and negative condition of outsider-ness in Soham Joshi’s set of tiny images.

THIS KIND OF LIGHT opens on 10 February and runs until the 3rd March 2024

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