Pieter Hugo – Kin
Pieter Hugo has garnered critical acclaim for his series of portraits and landscapes, each of which explore a facet of his native South Africa and neighboring African countries, including the film sets of Nigeria’s Nollywood, toxic garbage dumps in Ghana, and sites of mass execu- tions in Rwanda, as well as albinos, the Hyena Men of Nigeria, honey collectors, and garbage scavengers. Kin, focuses instead on the photographer’s family, his community, and himself. Writer John Mahoney characterizes it as the artist’s first major work to focus exclusively on his personal experience in his native South Africa, a place defined by centuries of political, cultural, and racial tensions and contradictions. Hugo describes his series as “an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being ‘colonial driftwood.’ South Africa is such a fractured, schizophrenic, wounded, and problematic place... How does one take responsibility for history, and to what extent should one try? How do you raise a family in such a conflicted society?” This work attempts to address these questions and reflect on the nature of conflicting personal and collective narratives.
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