Double Vision: Landscapes of Memory in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
When: Monday 8 June – Wednesday 10 June, 11am – 6pm
Where: William Goodenough House, 45A Mecklenburgh Square, London WC1N 2AJ
Photographs by Yusuf Agherdien and Ron Belling
Curated by Naomi Roux
Double Vision is a photographic reflection on the resilience of memory in the face of swift and brutal changes to urban and social landscapes, as well as a deeply personal autobiographical narrative linked to urban space in a South African post-apartheid city. Archival and contemporary photographs of the forcibly removed neighbourhood of South End in Port Elizabeth, compiled by former resident Yusuf Agherdien, place the past and present in conversation, excavating and illuminating traces and remnants of a remembered landscape. The exhibition is curated by Naomi Roux, the Mellon Research Fellow in Cities and Humanities at LSE Cities for 2014-15.
Yusuf Agherdien was forcibly removed from the neighbourhood of South End in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in the early 1970s under apartheid-era segregationist legislation. Forty years later, Agherdien has used a set of archival photographs taken by the artist Ron Belling in 1970 – on the cusp of South End’s demolition – to retrace the photographer’s steps and in so doing uncover the remnants of a neighbourhood that has been almost entirely erased. These double photographs reflect Agherdien’s process of recovery, using remnants, ruins and traces to reconstruct a disappeared landscape of memory; simultaneously, they are documents of loss, revealing a ghostly landscape that would otherwise remain invisible.
The “double vision” of the exhibition reflects not only on this specific geographic and historical context, but also on the nature of cities as places of erasure, forgetting, and re-inscription, and the ways in which personal biography and memory remain deeply embedded in the urban landscape long after the advent of “redevelopment” and “reconstruction”.
Two public walkabout and Q+A sessions with photographer Yusuf Agherdien will take place on Thursday 11 June from 11.00am -12.30pm (booking here essential) and from 3.00pm – 4.30pm (booking here is essential).
For more information, please visit the event website.