Art

See David Goldblatt’s 'On the Mines' exhibit for the first time in its entirety

On at the Norval Foundation, 'On the Mines' was the last exhibition that the famed photographer personally helped conceptualise before his death in 2018

05 April 2019 - 13:36 By Julia Freemantle
'On the Mines: David Goldblatt' features a series of 85 photographs of SA's gold mines and their surrounding communities.
'On the Mines: David Goldblatt' features a series of 85 photographs of SA's gold mines and their surrounding communities.
Image: Supplied

The Norval Foundation is showing the late David Goldblatt’s On the Mines exhibition for the first time in its entirety. 

The series of 85 photographs of the gold mines and their surrounding communities engage with mining’s significance as the primary driver of the South African economy in the '60s and '70s.

The mines became a strong theme in Goldblatt’s work, foretold by early boyhood photographs of mining headgear and other related subjects.  

Accompanied by words from Nobel Laureate and Goldblatt’s lifelong friend, Nadine Gordimer, from an original book of the same name, published by Striuk in 1973, the exhibition is  shown in tandem with a recording of her dialogue – which adds depth and gravitas to the already powerful images.

Goldblatt had deliberately sought Gordimer out because of her similar experience of growing up on the East Rand of Gauteng, surrounded by mines.

On the Mines: David Goldblatt was the last exhibition that the photographer personally helped conceptualise before his death in 2018.

In this exhibition, Goldblatt is revealed as the great chronicler and documenter of South Africa: the quiet observer of how the country, its peoples, its institutions and landscape have been inscribed by politics and power.

On the Mines: David Goldblatt  is on at the Norval Foundation in Cape Town until August 11.


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