Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo

“Slaghuis II”

Slaghuis II is a search for what it means to be marked by violence. ‘Slaghuis’ is an Afrikaans word for a literal place of slaughter and a vernacular expression for a place of violence that had come to identify the tavern where Hlatshwayo grew up. He transforms the familiar spaces of home and tavern into places of making that takes up violence as a visual language; home and tavern into a studio. Slaghuis II marks a second chapter in this ongoing body of work, produced as the 2019 Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship Recipient of the Market Photo Workshop. Hlatshwayo was mentored by John Fleetwood. Hlatshwayo’s disfiguring images speaks to the fluidity of memory–its non-clarity. It is a piecing together; a fetching of parts of him, snatched by the past– a rummaging. Memory is not concrete. It assumes different shapes, it can distort. He treats his images like taxi rank walls or danger boxes; as a kind of recital of a self, messed and confused; a masked self; a protesting, a resisting, and an existing self. There is a persisting adamancy of disrupting and displacing, within the moving and the still. There is a fight for immortality, visibility–and a fight for survival. There is a putting on, and a putting off. His image-making becomes a cleansing as well. A cleansing of his inner space. It is the exact same back and forth in the confrontation with the revolting parts of the tavern and of his mind. He cannot turn away and give up the cleaning or clean around these revolting parts, in actuality, the revolting parts need the most cleaning. At times the cleaning of the tavern and of his mind is as violent as the places of his markings. There is an aftermath of bodies having marked the tavern, there is an aftermath of the tavern having marked him, there is an aftermath of him having marked the image.

© Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo