Monday, October 26, 2009

Moving Spirit, Spirituality in Southern Africa is one of four books by Paul Weinberg available for sale at the Kalk Bay Modern. Images from the books are currently on display in the Here and There exhibition which runs until 31 October.
Moving Spirit is a narrative and visual journey exploring the various spiritual traditions of Southern Africa both new and ancient. Intertwined is Paul Weinberg’s own spiritual voyage, a subtle element that gives this work an insight beyond traditional journalism.
His long-standing relationship with the indigenous peoples of Southern Africa allows him to share distressing insights into the predicament they face, stranded between two cultures. He records their attempts to reconcile the traditional with the western, capturing moments of spiritual unity and transcendence as well as the violence, pain and anger that are part of this country’s legacy.
His explorations are not limited to indigenous peoples or age-old tradition however. Southern Africa has one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world providing us with extremely rich cultural, religious and spiritual customs.
His beautiful and moving photographs document, amongst other things,  a Hindu firewalking ceremony in Pietermaritzburg, a Tibetan monk making a sand mandala in Durban, a Wiccan Spring celebration, an Agape group-therapy session led by Stan Lipschitz in Mamelodi township and a Bahai service – a new religion that draws on many faiths believing in unity as a foundation.
The photographs are accompanied by an engaging account of Paul’s time spent exploring these traditions which provide, not only a wealth of information on the people and practices he photographed, but also insight into the relationship between these people and the media.
As a photographer he can often access rituals that are closed off from the public, but he has also come across those who distrust an outsider documenting their extremely private worlds. On the other hand, due to the booming tourist industry thirsty for ‘authentic experiences’, he has also witnessed the line between genuine ritual and staged performance pieces. 
All these facets combine to give an incredibly in-depth picture of Southern African religion and spirituality and form a beautiful and moving work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today’s image is from the In Search of the San section of Paul Weinberg’s exhibition, Here and There, and it captures another poignant and surreal moment of Southern African history.
 Elections, Bushman land, Aruru, Namibia (1989) shows a UN helicopter delivering ballot papers to this region for the election that was to result in Namibia’s independence from South Africa. This was the first time that the people of Bushman land, the San, had ever voted, and the concept of elections and having a ruler was completely foreign to them.

This startling intrusion of the western world is captured perfectly in the image of a naked San child staring up the UN helicopter with a sense of awe and amazement that we can only imagine. The only thing it could perhaps be compared to is the science fiction scenario of seeing a UFO hovering over one’s back garden.
However as in the previous image discussed, the child’s innocence and awed acceptance of whatever the world may bring is harshly contrasted with the plight of Southern Africa’s indigenous peoples.
Paul Weinberg began his search for the San (documented in his book of the same title) in 1984 and found, instead of the harmonious hunter-gatherer paradise that is key to western mythology about the bushman, a people displaced and dispossessed, living in a state of trauma.
Although this is a UN helicopter, a representative of those trying to help rectify some of the wrongs done to these people, the knowledge of the havoc wreaked by this alien race on those unable to defend themselves is harrowing.
However for a moment, captured here, is a moment of pure wonder, the science fiction dream or miraculous manifestation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Feature: Park Station

With just under two weeks left of Paul Weinberg’s exhibition - Here and There - the Kalk Bay Modern has decided to use this blog space to showcase and further explore a few choice images from the show.
The exhibition was divided up into four parts, In Search of the San, Travelling Light, Moving Spirit and Once Were Warriors, three of which are also the titles of Paul’s books.  Both the books and the photographic prints are available for purchase at the gallery. We hope that by focussing on certain key images from each section, we will be able to provide information that is useful and inspiring both to those who collect and invest in quality South African art as well as those for whom it is simply a passion. 
Today’s image is from Travelling Light, a play on words concerning both the physics of photography and the conditions necessary to building up a body of work spanning 25 years.     

Park Station, (Joburg, early 1980’s) is a poignant image of a two white children peering out of a train window.  The strong single light-source and smoke  from the train create an atmosphere that is both intense and surreal, capturing the strange magic of travel that children in particular have not yet learned to take for granted.
 An understanding of the time and place of its capture however, gives this image a sombre quality. These children have no doubt recently stepped off a ‘Whites Only’ platform.  The freedom that they do not even know they have is not granted to everyone. This journey, and every aspect of their lives, will happen within a net of bias and prejudice that, in all likelihood, they will never be taught to question.
In a show of technical mastery, the composition is arranged so that the gaze of each child, following the diagonals of the train, slides off the image borders into far distances that the viewer is not privy to. The child facing us meets our gaze in a time-old tradition that cannot ever lose its potency.  The meeting of two pairs of eyes, the mutual evaluation, the impossibility of knowing the other, yet the sense of human connection, these elements all combine to create a lingering, haunting image.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review - Opening of Paul Weinberg Exhibition

From Left: Roger Lucey, Paul Weinberg,
& Max Du Preez.

The opening of Paul Weinberg Exhibition - Here & There - at Kalk Bay Modern Gallery turned out to be more of an event than a traditional exhibition viewing. Opening his introduction speech to a capacity crowd, Max du Preez spoke of his long standing friendship with Paul Weinberg and the journeys they've shared, and ended by encouraging potential buyers to invest in a 'Weinberg' image as a valuable piece of South Africa’s own historical journey.
Roger Lucey followed with a guitar and lyrical accompaniment to some of Paul’s haunting images from a slide-show projection. This added a new dimension and depth to the visual experience of the evening as the music resonated with you as you absorbed again Paul’s exhibition images. Following on the theme of the journey, Roger's message pointed to the question: How can you know where you’re going, when you don’t know where you’ve been? Paul Weinberg’s exhibition is an invitation to others to gain some insight about the people of our land and possibly embark on a new journey of our own from here to there.

Roger Lucey during his performance

The Paul Weinberg exhibition runs from 7 - 31 October. All the exhibited works are available as signed and edition prints from the gallery. Four of Paul's books are also available for purchase at the gallery; In Search of the San, Travelling Light, Moving Spirit and Then & Now. Prices range from R150 – R300. Should you wish to make enquiries regarding a purchase, please contact the gallery.

KB Modern

Monday, October 5, 2009

More on Upcoming Exhibition - Paul Weinberg

Picking up a Paul Weinberg book of photography or just browsing through his  website is a visual treat.                            

He finds beauty in the ordinary. Things that you and I would brush past without a thought, are captured in the most sensitive and dignified way.
A hand aged by time or the open, smiling face of a child – these are images that stare back at you. They are images you cannot ignore and they evoke within you questions that you would rather avoid.

This particular exhibition at the KBModern is one NOT to be missed. I am eager to view one of Weinberg’s photos first hand – one that has not been watered-down by printer’s ink or pixelated by the glare of my computer screen.

The opening speech at the exhibition will be done by well-known journalist, Max du Preez of “Special Assignment” fame. In addition to this, there will also be a performance by Roger Lucey, which will be done to a film projection of images on one of the gallery walls.

The exhibition promises to be an evening of cultural excellence. A feast of beautiful visual imagery and sumptuous dialogue.
Till Next Time,

Latest Exhibition

‘For most of my adult life I have been a nomad with a camera.I have embarked on journeys that have taken me from the city to the bush and all that lies between. Travels in pursuit of questions, curiosity, or stories I have felt should be told. Some of these stories have finally ended up as books, exhibitions and films.’- Paul Weinberg

I feel somewhat honoured that my first blog write-up for KBM would centre around the very exciting exhibition of photographic works by Paul Weinberg.

Paul Weinberg needs no introduction. He is a world acclaimed artist, photographer, film maker and author. Should you wish to know more about him please follow this link,, or visit his website

And for more on his upcoming exhibition at KBModern, please contact the gallery or follow this blog.

Do you have anything on your mind regarding this exhibition? We would like to hear from you.

Until my next posting,