25 April to 18 May 2018

Centre des arts, La Grande Boissière

Vernissage: 4 May 2018, 17:00-19:00
Exhibition: 25 April to 18 May 2018

« Seeing and being seen » is an exhibition of portrait photographs and the life testimonies of young people followed over a two year period in their school in Zondi, Soweto, an historically segregated « black » township south west of Johannesburg. Taken by Isabelle Descombes, these larger than life-size portraits capture the strengths and resilience of each unique individual, while collectively recreating a sense of the hope, inspiration and determination that anchors their daily struggles to survive and build a brighter future for themselves and their country. The exhibition also features texts and photographs by these same students. They tell touching stories of how young South Africans today see themselves, their lives and the challenges they face in their world. They vividly portray the things that sadden and inspire them in their community and the hopes and vision they have for the future. 
The full collection of portraits and testimonies of the 85 young students who took part in the original project was gathered in a book that will also be available at the exhibition. All proceeds from the book sale will go towards creating a scholarship scheme for students from this school, to enable them to pursue their education and professional training. In this way we hope to participate in making it possible for these young people to realise their dreams for themselves, their visions for South Africa and to contribute to the positive development of their community.
A round table participatory open-discussion, co-convened by Vijé Franchi (former professor and child psychotherapist), Heidi Grunebaum (Professor, University of Western Cape and film-maker), and Dr Mathe Mduduzi Maphindikazi (Principal, Bhukulani Secondary School) will address some of the questions raised by the making and understanding of portraits in contemporary South African art and society. 

With the support of the Association suisse des Amis du Dr Janusz Korczak