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Essop brothers explore SA ‘Unrest’

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After successfully tackling various cities in South Africa, the Unrest exhibition by artists Hasan and Husain Essop, is currently on its second last leg of its tour in Johannesburg. Eleven photographs were chosen for this exhibition and each photograph depicts a different location and a different situation. Each photograph is meant to be reflective of the current situation in South Africa.

“The inspiration was the situation in South Africa,” Hasan explains.

The artists tell a story through their photographs. Xenophobia is represented in one photograph that shows an attack of a shop owner about to take place in the Athlone area.

“Some of the photos are very direct and speak to exactly what has happened,” Hasan continues.

Xenophobia is one of the most pressing issues facing the country, and has tainted South Africa’s image abroad. Islamaphobia has also become a global challenge and the artists have addressed these issues and more in their current exhibit.

The brothers are depicted in all their photographs as the protagonists. The narrative in the images speaks to the unrest within the country at the moment.

The exhibition thus far has been a success for the brothers who remain humbled and grounded, despite their success.

“We didn’t sell as much as we would like but have had good responses and good reviews. You can’t put money on that,” says Hasan.

“Husain and I put our heart and soul into each piece and people were impressed.”

The talented pair were the recipients of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art in 2014. At home, the Essop twins are dedicated family-men, who are also actively involved in their communities. The brothers are part of the Lalela Project based in Hout Bay, an after school programme which mentors impoverished youth in art and creativity.

The brothers always make an effort to be at every opening at every city and invite people to come and listen so that they themselves may tell the audience about their inspiration behind every piece.

“Through (our) art we are trying to open up a dialogue about conversations that would not necessarily take place,” Hasan continued.

The exhibition is being displayed at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg till June 20th and the final location for the tour is in Potchefstroom. VOC (Umarah Hartley)



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