Inner Views

Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa's stunning large-scale images of life in his native South Africa

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With a careful eye, South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa‘s highly-saturated, large-format photos of migrant workers and urban natural disasters document the state of his native country and its inhabitants today. Depicting everyday people in their natural environments, Mthethwa’s upcoming exhibit, “Inner Views” at Harlem’s Studio Museum, shows a particularly human side of the photographer’s strength as a portraitist.


Curators divided the exhibit into three themes—Interiors, Empty Beds and Common Ground—for an easily-navigable look at the differences and similarities his subjects share, despite their location.


Trained as a painter, Mthethwa’s crafts his compositions meticulously, manipulating scale and color to make an impact. With photos as large as 6′ x 4′, the Cape Town-based artist challenges audiences to take in a complete view—gritty details and all—of the subjects and their surroundings.


“Inner Views” opens this Thursday, 15 July 2010, and runs through 24 October 2010. Mthethwa’s recently published self-titled monograph, available for purchase from Aperture ($39), features 75 four-color images for a comprehensive look at his works to date.

See more photos (courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery) in the gallery below.