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Ireland: Political murals of West Belfast

By Lauren Carrol Harris

November 9, 2009 -- Belfast -- Though Northern Ireland has slipped from the nightly news, "the troubles", including ongoing deep sectarian divisions and low-level violence, are a daily reality for Irish republicans. Just one reminder of the struggle for a united Ireland, and example of the Irish people's creative resistance, is the multitude of political murals that smother the walls of West Belfast, a republican stronghold. Many commemorate the activists and civilians whose lives were taken in the struggle. But the murals don't just discuss Irish politics -- on these walls are messages of international solidarity for other peoples' movements for change and self-determination. Above are just a few.

Migrant workers in South Africa: Photography and social justice struggles

Born in Durban and the author of a forthcoming book on Wentworth in Durban, Peter Mckenzie was a co-founder of the photo collective Afrapix agency under the auspices of the South African Council of Churches and the chief photographer for Drum magazine until the late 1980s before going freelance. He was also the co-ordinator and facilitator of the photojournalism department at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism from 1996 to 1999. Mckenzie has published and exhibited both in South Africa and internationally, and is recognised as one of South Africa's greatest photographers.

Below, McKenzie provides a commentary on aesthetics and representation strategies for popular movements committed to social justice.


 

 

Pre-post: A trajectory in South African photography

By Peter Mckenzie, Sean O’ Toole and Jo Ractliffe

Sean: Very often in discussions of contemporary South African photography, and I would say I’m a guilty culprit here too, commentators have tended to speak of the 1990s signalling a break in continuity. After decades of socially committed photography, Drum magazine in the 1950s and early 1960s, and more pointedly the socially committed vision of the Afrapix collective in the 1980s, it seems that after Mandela’s release and the transition to a non-racial democracy photography splintered. At least so goes the master narrative. Or will history, which is good at flattening things, simply define the 1990s as the identity decade?

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