Thabo Jaiyesimi
6 October 2006 to 24 November 2006

Social Obligation, a politically charged exhibition of black and white photographs by Thabo Jaiyesimi, documents the social condition and contemporary concerns in today’s Black British community. Social Obligation is a powerful critical instrument, harnessed to the cause of social change, political movements, protest and reform, in a style directly inherited from the golden age of social documentary, and the work of photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks and Roy Decarva.

Bringing to visibility, in an eloquent language, which heightens reality, those dimensions of the black experience that had been previously neglected or sidelined, vividly recording the moments of angry political confrontation (Stephen Lawrence investigation, the ban on Nation of Islam’s Farrakhan), but also offering quieter portraits and more understated images of “ordinary” daily existence, Social Obligation is a powerful documentary study, an archive of dramatic imagery of poverty and racism, leadership, struggles and achievements in the community. In portraiture, street, neighbourhood scenes, Thabo’s photographs document the dignity and complexity of today’s Black British life, concerned with the truthful representation of the day to day activities of urban life: “I feel I am archiving something meaningful, I want to have a greater insight into lives without imposing my own value judgments” Through the objective documentation of decisive or poignant moments, Social Obligation conveys, with a certain bluntness, the underlying idea of common destiny of the people of African descent in the UK.

Thabo Jaiyesimi’s work has been published in numerous periodicals and newspapers including The Guardian, The Independent and The Observer. His work has been widely exhibited, his most recent shows include Black British Style at the V&A and last year’s Brixton Graffic Show. He has recently conducted photography workshops at the Black Art Gallery in Los Angeles, USA and at the Alf Khumalo Museum in Soweto, South Africa. The exhibition will be complemented by a public appearance of Duwayne Brooks (for the launch of his book “Steve and Me”), and a public screening of short films by Kolton Lee (BFI Blackworld), Wayne Campbell and Lawrence Coke (Best Film, BFM Short Film Awards), followed by a Q&A session.

Events Duwayne Brooks: Steve and Me

Wed. 18 October, 6.30 – 9pm
Urban Life: Challenging The Stereotypes
(short films by K.Lee, W. Campbell and L.Coke)
Wed. 25 October, 6.30 – 8 pm All events are free