Koop Projects

10/02 – 03/03/2024

KOOP PROJECTS is pleased to announce a group exhibition of Photography by queer artists from South Africa and Sussex. A first of its kind in Brighton, the city at the centre of LGBTQ+ culture in the United Kingdom, the exhibition brings together six compelling and significant 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. The exhibition is one of exploration and discovery: exploring places, faces and bodies in a search for identity and belonging; self-discovery and the exploration of boundaries, both psychological and geographical; the discovery of new and significant voices working in Photography and an exploration of new ways of working with the medium. 

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. Vera 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 centre 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. 

On Framing: Part of our stated aim at Koop Projects is to explore and learn from the contexts in which artists in Africa find ways to make and show their work. For this reason, almost all of the photographs in this exhibition are presented deliberately, defiantly, unframed. For the sake of a frame and some glass, the work in the exhibition would not be seen at all in the UK, or indeed, in their own country. We consider this to be a net loss for all of us. 

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



www.koopprojects.com / +44 (0) 7483 163396 

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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