Upperplayground News

PIETER HUGO: COLONIAL DRIFTWOOD

by Ariadna Zierold

pieter hugo, kin, photography, south africa, portrait, upper playground

Pieter Hugo was born 1976 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a photographer who primarily works in portraiture and whose work engages with both documentary and art traditions with a focus on African communities.

pieter hugo, kin, photography, south africa, portrait, upper playground

Created over the past eight years, Pieter Hugo’s series Kin confronts complex issues of colonization, racial diversity and economic disparity in Hugo’s homeland of South Africa. These subjects are common to the artist’s past projects in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Botswana; however, this time, Hugo’s attention is focused on his conflicted relationship with the people and environs closest to home.

pieter hugo, kin, photography, south africa, portrait, upper playground

Kin is the artist’s personal exploration of South Africa through landscapes, portraits and still life photography. Hugo depicts locations and subjects of personal significance, such as cramped townships, contested farmlands, abandoned mining areas and sites of political influence, as well as psychologically charged still lives in people’s homes and portraits of drifters and the homeless. Hugo also presents intimate portraits of his pregnant wife, his daughter moments after her birth and the domestic servant who worked for three generations of Hugo’s family. Alternating between private and public spaces, with a particular emphasis on the growing disparity between rich and poor, Kin is the artist’s effort to locate himself and his young family in a country with a fraught history and an uncertain future.

pieter hugo, kin, photography, south africa, portrait, upper playground pieter hugo, kin, photography, south africa, portrait, upper playground pieter hugo, kin, photography, south africa, portrait, upper playground

Images via Yossi Milo Gallery.