“Plastic Crowns”

A solo exhibition by 2015 Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship Recipient Phumzile Khanyile.

The Market Photo Workshop in partnership with the family and friends of the late Gisèle Wulfsohn are pleased to announce the exhibition launch of Plastic Crowns, a project by Phumzile Khanyile. Phumzile is the recipient of the 2015 Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography. The mentorship is set out as a developmental platform and opportunity to continue activism through photography in the spirit of Gisèle Wulfsohn.

Ayana V. Jackson, a renowned American photographer and filmmaker mentored Phumzile through this process.

Plastic Crowns stems from the idea of taking a perceived “prestigious” ornament as a royal or beauty pageant crown and turning it into an object that anyone can purchase and enthrone themselves to be royalty for a day. It is the journey of deciding who you are: the constant conception and reinvention of oneself.

This body of work probes stereotypical ideas of gender, sexual preference and related stigmas and their relevance in contemporary society. It questions how having multiple partners

can be an expression of choice as opposed to it being an indicator of low morality, based on societal conventions. The work concerns itself with being at an intersection between traditional and contemporary culture and how the photographer finds herself wrestling with the contestation of this in-between space.

About Phumzile Khanyile

Phumzile Khanyile was born in Soweto. She enrolled at the Market Photo Workshop in August 2013 and successfully completed the Foundation Course, Intermediate Course and Advanced Programme in Photography Course.

In 2015 she became the recipient of the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship Programme and her body of work “1411 Mohapi Street” went on to be show cased as part of a group exhibition at Kalashnikovv Gallery titled “Seeing through the complexities of difference”.

In 2016 Phumzile began working with her Mentor Ayana. V. Jackson in developing this body of work for the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship. In the same year, she was showcased at the Joburg Art Fair in the Market Photo Workshop booth and was part of the panel at the Market Theatre 40 Year Celebration event. She was also one of the 10 participants in Photo:’s inaugural 10:10 platform.

Mentor’s Statement

Working with Phumzile has been an absolute pleasure. I find her project to be incredibly exciting. She is using her subjective point of view to tackle issues around race, gender and class that I think will resonate with a lot of audiences. I have really enjoyed being privy to her conceptual and practival approach to art making.

About the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography

In 2012, The Family & Friends of Gisèle Wulfsohn approached the Market Photo Workshop regarding the establishment of the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography. The mentorship was launched to honour Gisèle’s memory and her work. It is seen as an opportunity to continue her approach to, and interests in, photography. Gisèle dedicated her life and photography to awareness, openness and respect. She worked on issues of democracy, HIV/AIDS education and positive identities, social inclusion, gender issues, women’s rights, and maintained a commitment to education and social change.

The Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography’s over-arching concept is the creation of a platform and opportunity for emerging photographers to build a substantial body of work with a view to assisting them in the establishment of a professional career within the field of photography. The Mentorship provides the successful applicant with the financial support necessary to research and produce a body of photographic work, in consultation with a mentor and seasoned experts, over the period of a year.

This mentorship process includes regular critique and feedback sessions with the recipient and professional photographers. Based on the successful production of a new body of work by the recipient, and availability of funds, the mentorship grant can be extended to develop and produce an exhibition of the work with the possibility of a publication.

Phumzile Khanyile is the third recipient of the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship at the Market Photo Workshop.

About the Market Photo Workshop

For over twenty-seven years, the Market Photo Workshop has played a pivotal role in the training of South Africa’s photographers, ensuring that visual literacy reaches neglected and marginalized parts of our society. World-renowned photographer, David Goldblatt contributed vastly to the establishment of Market Photo Workshop in 1988 – 1999. Since then, the Photo Workshop has been an agent of change and representation, informing photographers, visual artists, educators, students and broader communities of trends, issues, and debates in photography and visual culture.

The Market Photo Workshop also runs a number of Public Programmes, which are a series of events involving and directed at professional photographers, visual artists, educators, students as well as the broader public. These Public Programmes seek to inform the trends, practices, methods, and contemporary ways of working and thinking in South African photography practice through exposure to a broad understanding of visual culture as well as a networking platform that encourages critical thinking and engagements.

Showcasing a number of high profile local and international photographers, as well as student and alumni photography work, the Market Photo Workshop has been able to build a strong and consistent audience base around our gallery, ‘The Photo Workshop Gallery’ in Newtown, which is on the same premises as the school. Since 2005, when the gallery was initially launched, the kind of platform it has engendered encourages not only emerging students to experience and enter into professional practice, but has distilled a new type of photographic practice amongst the greater artistic community. Various critical discourses, especially around the role documentary photography, have been stimulated by the multitude of exhibitions that have shown at The Photo Workshop Gallery creating dynamic interactions between students and the greater photography community. In 2017, Market Photo Workshop relocated to its new state of art photography facility at Market Square premises by the Mary Fitzgerald Square.

For more information please visit https://www.marketphotoworkshop.co.za

Or contact:
Bekie Ntini
Coordinator: Mentorships and Training bekien@marketphotoworkshop.co.za

Shirin Motala
Coordinator: Special Projects shirinm@marketphotoworkshop.co.za

Market Photo Workshop
138 Lilian Ngoyi Street (entrance Margaret Mcingana street) Newtown
+27 (0) 11 834 1444 T

info@marketphotoworkshop.co.za www.marketphotoworkshop.co.za

The Market Photo Workshop is a division of The Market Theatre Foundation (Agency of DAC)