Africa Centre’s PhD student, Dumo Mkwanazi,
enjoys a photo on display taken by one of the
artist’s in residency.

Nine local artists, trained by the well-known South African photographer, Zwelethu Mthethwa were featured in an art exhibition in St Lucia at the Siyabonga Gallery from 18 to 27 May 2013. The training is a product of the ‘Art in Global Health’ project, organised by the Wellcome Collection, which is part of the Wellcome Trust in the UK.

The project aimed to tease out some of the more personal, philosophical, cultural and political dimensions of health research. In this project, six artist-in-residencies were set up in six, international research centres funded by the Wellcome Trust and these are based in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK.  In South Africa, Mthethwa was based at UKZN’s Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, an international research facility located in Somkhele, 230 kilometres north of Durban.

Mthethwa is best known for his stunning, large-scale photographic portraits that powerfully frame black South Africans as dignified and defiant people, even under the duress of social and economic hardship. The training programme comprised of a photographic workshop hosted by the Africa Centre in June 2012.

The workshop was free of charge, with each participant receiving a digital camera of their own, courtesy of the Wellcome Trust, ORM and Nikon. The visual topic of the workshop was ‘Good Health’ and students were asked to explore this theme through their photography. The resultant artwork reflects a diversity of approaches, angles and subject matter and provides a rich, real-life interpretation of health in this rural community.