Bear Books Interview with Tanya ZackUp Up: Stories of Johannesburg’s Highrises


Fourthwall Books new releases are:

Everyone is Present: In this book, Kurgan begins with a family snapshot made by her Polish grandfather in 1939 on the eve of the war. Presenting this evocative image as a repository of multiple histories—public, private, domestic, familial and generational—she sets off on a series of meditations on photography that give us startling insights into how photographs work: what they conceal, how they mislead, what provocations they contain.

Undercity: Decades after the mining houses closed shop in Johannesburg, the metal that made this the wealthiest city on the continent continues to attract fortune seekers. Now they come to glean what is left of a once-booming industry, from the mine dumps and in the abandoned shafts beneath the city. These ‘artisanal miners’, or ‘Zama Zamas’, use an ancient pick-and-shovel method to extract the gold.

August House is Dead, Long Live August House! The Story of a Johannesburg Atelier: In the east end of the inner city of Johannesburg, a former textiles factory undergoes a dramatic transformation to become, over the next several years, one of the city’s foremost artists’ studios. When the sale of the building seems imminent, not only must the artists face the daunting prospect of relocation, but a remarkable chapter in the complex narrative of contemporary South African art seems about to close.

Andrew Tshabangu: Footprints, the book coincides with the exhibition Andrew Tshabangu: Footprints at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. Andrew Tshabangu has been making photographs for over twenty years. He has traversed the city and the countryside—in South Africa and elsewhere—with an ease born of deep familiarity and empathy, and in order to show everyday lives made meaningful by the rhythms of work, faith and leisure. The book is sponsored and supported by Gallery MOMO and Standard Bank.

Master Mansions: In the eighth book of the popular series Wake Up, This is Joburg, photographer Mark Lewis and writer Tanya Zack take us on a magical tour of Master Mansions and its family temple, now shuttered but perfectly preserved. They learn the story of the hat factory from Bhikha Uka’s son Rajnikant Bhikha (aka RB), RB’s youngest son HB Master and HB’s son Manoj. HB and his children were the last to manage the hat factory and he tells of its success, perhaps no more tangibly demonstrated than in the famous hat made by Mabro milliner Jimmy Baloyi and worn by Winnie Mandela to the Presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela.

Commonplace: In its presentation of private images from
two very different family photo collections, this unusual book highlights the small details—the commonplaces—of everyday life often forgotten in the larger narrative of South African history.

Hââbré, The Last Generation is a series of portraits of people who represent perhaps the last generation to bear the ritual scarification associated with a number of ethnic groups in various parts of West Africa. These lush images, shot in Choumali’s studio in Abidjan, are accompanied by excerpts of interviews conducted by Choumali with her sitters, which reveal a range of responses to scarification, from pride to ambivalence and even outright rejection of the facial markings. These portraits and texts examine the complex role of tradition in an urban setting such as Abidjan and suggest the shifting nature of the concepts of beauty and identity.

Hanging on a Wire: Photographs by Sophia Klaase, in 1999, Rick Rohde, a Research Fellow of the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh, joined a long-term research project in the village of Paulshoek in Namaqualand, the aim of which was to understand and record the socio-economic and environmental history of the area. Some residents of Paulshoek were invited to contribute to the project through a photographic documentation of the life of the village. One of these photographers was Sophia Klaase, whose images are the cornerstone of this richly layered study of Paulshoek and its environs.

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