Proclamation 73

Early next month the Durban Art Gallery will play host to an exhibition of photographs collated as part of Proclamation 73, a newly created archive of family photos of people who were categorised as ‘Coloured’ and ‘Indian’ in terms of the Group Areas Act of 1950.

Joyce Thomas (left) with her father, Bernard Fynn. The photo was taken at a dance competition at the YMCA in Beatrice St, Durban, circa 1970s. The couple on the right are unknown. Image courtesy of Lorin Sookool

Joyce Thomas (left) with her father, Bernard Fynn. The photo was taken at a dance competition at the YMCA in Beatrice St, Durban, circa 1970s. The couple on the right are unknown. Image courtesy of Lorin Sookool

Initially the Act applied only to ‘White’, ‘Native’ and ‘Coloured’ groups, but in 1951 the government issued Proclamation 73, creating a sub-division of the Coloured group, which now included Indian and Chinese people.

Initiated earlier this year by independent curator Chandra Frank, and social researcher, Zara Julius, Proclamation 73 is a not-for-profit project in partnership with the Goethe-Institut South Africa and Durban Local History Museums. A call was made at the beginning of the year for members of the public to submit personal photographs taken of their families between the years of 1949 and 2000. These photos, which include pictures of weddings, beach days, ballroom dance contests and street portraits – in essence photographs of everyday life – are juxtaposed with images that depict the aftermath of the forced removals that resulted from the Group Areas Act.

The exhibition investigates and challenges how different racial histories and segregation continue to operate within the city of Durban and its surroundings…..Through portraying a wide variety of images….this exhibition invites viewers to think through questions of representation, erasure, and intimacy.”

Proclamation 73 opens on the 10th December 2018, and will run until the evening of the 24th December. Afrapix photographers, Jeeva Ragjopaul and Rafs Mayet, will be in attendance, alongside UZKN Senior Lecturer in Gender Education, Dr Bronwyn Anderson.

Visit the Proclamation 73 Facebook page to RSVP for the opening night.

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