Umuzi Creates

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When you’re born and bred in South Africa’s black areas, sometimes basic resources are a luxury. Creativity is a natural antidote to relieve the pressures of life. Kgomotso Neto Tleane who describes himself as a mission photographer, understands these pressures all too well and contributes to the conversation with his own perspective.

Through his lens, Neto focuses on the voiceless and faceless members of society that build their lives and actively contribute to the development of the country – the vegetable ‘mama’ vendors who feed families from the side of the road; the trash day recyclers who collect our disposables to better their tomorrow; and the taxi rank gatekeepers who marshal our daily delivery to our chosen destinations.

Although these characters only appeal to our convenience, Neto has embraced this environment, reflected his love for it back into his photographs, while also alerting our attention to the overlooked but valuable stories of its’ subjects.Without any empathy, stereotypes usually have a negative classification which leads to marginalisation until the media and social trends alter that mindset. Neto’s work highlights all these elements in a creative and effective way.

As per black culture, using a familiar media, he portrays his fellow men and women in a respectable light despite their economical standing.The classic aesthetic that paints the images, allows the viewer to swallow the honesty in the subjects’ stories while taking note of the new perspective that Neto is encouraging.  Above all, Neto affords power and dignity to the inhabitants and their informal spaces.

Tonight, the Umuzi community invests in local art and stands in support for a prestigious opportunity awaiting Neto at the New York Portfolio Review. Thank you for joining us and please purchase artwork to raise funds towards local art development.