Musa Nxumalo


Alternative Kidz

Side gallery, 1 October - 21 November 2009

Michael Stevenson is pleased to present Alternative Kidz by Musa Nxumalo as part of the side gallery series.

Alternative Kidz was produced under the auspices of the Edward Ruiz Mentorship 2008 at the Market Photo Workshop and funded by AngloGold Ashanti. Nxumalo's exhibition documents urban black youth who choose to identify with alternative culture. In so doing, Nxumalo re-presents and repositions not only mainstream South African youth culture, but also the ability of alternative counter-culture to react against social stereotyping. In this context, alternative culture is both culturally dissonant and individually liberating. It demonstrates how counter-culture can function as a mode of complex self-fashioning.

First popularised in predominately western capitalist societies in the 1970s and 1980s, punk culture was characterised by a rejection of commercialism and political idealism. Today, however, alternative culture has largely been absorbed into mainstream society; it is no longer largely associated with anarchism, radical politics, and a rejection of social values and norms. Nxumalo's exhibition raises questions about the nature of (intentioned) cultural divergence and the status of contemporary subjectivities, particularly in relation to the emergence of new urban cultures and dynamics. Nxumalo says that he hopes this project will 'encourage cultural exploration among young South Africans'.

Nxumalo produced this body of work as the recipient of the 2008 Edward Ruiz Mentorship at the Market Photo Workshop, in consultation with his mentors John Fleetwood, Lester Adams and Michelle Loukidis. Photographer Nontsikelelo Veleko also assisted in the development of the exhibition.

The Edward Ruiz Mentorship, sponsored by AngloGold Ashanti, is a mentorship programme which has been established to help launch the career of a promising photographer. The mentorship awards the recipient with the financial and infrastructural support needed to develop a substantial body of photographic work over the course of a year. The body of work is exhibited as a solo exhibition at The Photo Workshop Gallery. The recipient also has the opportunity to work closely with a chosen mentor, who provides guidance and direction on the intended project.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 1 October, 6-8pm. The gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm.