Solomon Kholopha of St Martin’s Undertakers © Pieter HugoThe folks at Michael Stevenson Gallery just notified me about Pieter Hugo's new series, Messina/Musina. Pieter is a prolific photographer and one of my favorites. I have one of his pieces hanging in my front room and everyday I fall in love with it all over again.
Pieter's new series documents a town on the northernmost border of South Africa. The town exist as a sort of wild west environment with all manner of sketchy opportunists sharing an uncomfortable existence in a frontier no man's land. Here's an excerpt from Pieter's statement:
Musina is the northern-most town in South Africa. It lies on the Limpopo River on the border of Zimbabwe. The town was formerly known as Messina, and in 2002 its name was changed to correct a colonial misspelling of the name of the Musina people who previously lived in the region.You can read more about the new work in an interview Pieter did with Joanna Lehan.
Located in the heart of the bushveld with its hunting farms and diamond mine, on the major trucking route north, it attracts a conglomeration of disparate peoples. They are drawn to this town by the opportunities it offers, be it working in the mines or on the farms, policing the porous border, smuggling contraband and alien immigrants, or prostitution.
In his photographs of individuals, families, interiors, landscapes and incidental details, Hugo reflects on the wounds and scars of race, class and nationality that persist here, on the border of Zimbabwe, a country in the process of self-destructing. The circumstances of Musina can also be seen as broadly reflective of any community that is confronted by transition.