"David Southwood: N1 and Beach Boys" exhibition at the University Art Gallery

David Southwood: N1 and Beach Boys exhibition

The University Art Gallery will open the 2014-2015 exhibition season with David Southwood: N1 and Beach Boys, an exhibition that brings together two connected bodies of work by the internationally recognized South African artist: The N1 (National Road One) project, and Beach Boys. Both projects combine photography with social commitment, and both explore transitional, marginal places and the question of what it takes to make a “place.” Southwood will speak about his work at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5. The exhibition will run from Sept. 5–Oct. 12.

The N1 series profiles the longest freeway in South Africa, the road that connects country’s two largest cities, Cape Town and Johannesburg. It depicts, in Southwood’s words, “the highway as an awkward place, the stage for un-choreographed events, the migrating protagonists of which were never intended to use the highway.” Beach Boys also asks questions about place and its inhabitants. The series documents the lives of a group of Tanzanian stowaways who live amongst the N1 infrastructure in Cape Town. Responsibility for this group of men, living without passports or travel documentation, is not claimed by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, nor by shipping agents, nor by the government of Tanzania.

David Southwood combines photography, social commitment, and a deep interest in urban landscapes. In 2000, together with some township photographers, he set up the first nonprofit organization for “street photographers” in the Western Cape. The organization, Umlilo, remains active today. In 2004, Southwood was awarded the International Bauhaus Award for his collaborative project (with Matthew Barac and Simone le Fevre) on the theme of the contemporary city’s “transit spaces,” and in 2008 he co-curated and participated in the exhibition “Cities in Crisis” at the University of Johannesburg’s FADA Gallery.

Sewanee’s University Art Gallery is located on Georgia Avenue on the campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.  The gallery is free, accessible, and open to the public. Hours are 10–5 Tuesday through Friday and noon–4 on Saturday and Sunday.

Images, above right: Untitled #4, from the N1 series, 2006, archival inkjet print on cotton rag paper. Above left: Untitled #19, from Beach Boys, on newsprint. Both provided courtesy of the artist.