Clint Strydom Solo Exhibition | Hidden Shadows and Silent Voices of Prison Number 4
18 May – 27 August 2017
at Constitution Hill, 11 Kotze St, Johannesburg
Clint Strydom, in collaboration with Constitution Hill, and co-curator Gaisang Sathekge, will release a powerful new body of contemporary photographs on the Number 4 Prison Section in May 2017.
This exhibition titled ‘Hidden Shadows and Silent Voices of Prison Number 4’ will narrate the fascinating story of this nefarious prison. The Number 4 Prison Section was restricted to male prisoners and was home to Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Robert Sobukwe, Oliver Tambo and thousands of other people who were incarcerated here.
This infamous section is notorious for some of the worst atrocities that happened within the Old Fort Prison. Few know about the long tunnels and tiny cells that lie beneath the streets of the City of Johannesburg, the punishment racks, the naked prisoners, the food deprivation, the dirt and the cold.
The exhibition speaks to the fact that the cells are now empty, the doors lie open and the prisoners free. But the silent voices hidden in the shadows remain as custodians of the memories ensuring that we never forget and never go back. As one walks through the empty cells, the haunting presence hovers in the thick musty air.
‘The Old Fort Prison is a powerful place of history – storied with a complex painful narrative of South Africa’s brutal past. Strydom’s work, captured using the high res technology of a Hasselblad camera, captures the essence of the prison, portraying the shadows and recording the silent cries that once roared through the thick walls of incarceration. It’s a spirit-evoking body of photographs, accentuating the history of the prison’, Gaisang Sathekge.
‘Hidden Shadows and Silent Voices of Prison Number 4’ will help to give a voice to those shadows who have remained silent for so long. For this reason, I have agreed to donate several of the works to the Constitution Hill permanent collection’, Clint Strydom.
The artist and curator, however recognised that this precinct is now the home to the South African Constitutional Court, a symbol of light and inspiration to all as the protector of the South African Constitution, one of the most progressive constitutions in existence today.
Strydom and Sathekge have taken the decision to present the artworks on Diasec in large scales. This form of framing is extremely modern, contrasting with the roughness of the cell walls on which they will be presented. Hasselblad South Africa has kindly sponsored the use of their wonderful photographic equipment and Orms has kindly discounted the price of printing and framing.
Clint has built a strong reputation and following for the unique way in which he captures and represents his environment through the lens of his camera. This talent has seen him working with Aston Martin global to capture the essence of this iconic brand in a series of modern photographs for global release, FIFA, the Mexican International Football Hall of Fame, Chivas Regal, Mbongeni Ngema for Sarafina and Asinamali the movie that is due for release later this year and numerous others. Clint is also one of the directors of The Melrose Gallery, making this one of the few artist owned galleries in South Africa.
The exhibition launches at Constitution Hill on Thursday 18 May and will run until 27 August and it’s one that you should not miss. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.themelrosegallery.com and www.clintstrydom.com and www.constitutionhill.org.za
Image: Clint Strydom, Two Red Shoes – detail shown here (Motivation: The prisoners would only receive shoes after spending a year in the prison. These shoes were something of value, a powerful visual representation of the conditions that the prisoners had to endure and a reminder of the person who used them).