This year’s Biennial marks the world premiere presentation of My Storie (2012) by South African photographer Sabelo Mlangeni which, shown alongside his earlier series Men Only (2008-09), he hopes will prompt people to question their perceptions of South Africa. Mlangeni tells us more…

What’s Happening?

I am exhibiting two photographic bodies of work at the Tea Factory in Liverpool. The series tells a story about some of the white people who live in Bertrams, which is very close to Johannesburg’s inner-city. As a black person who has lived in the city, I have always wondered why they never left when the political power shifted in the 1990’s and Johannesburg started changing into the city that we know today, where almost all the residents are black, in dramatic contrast to the city demographics twenty years ago.
Men Only is an older series that focuses on the George Goch hostel on the East Rand of Johannesburg.

Built in 1961 to house migrant mineworkers, today the hostel is home to taxi drivers and security guards, among the many who move to Jozi to better their lives. Only men are allowed in such hostels, and in the collective imaginary they are places of violence, sexual abuse and illegal trafficking. They are also places where the legacy of apartheid is still clearly evident, despite the gains of the past 15 years of democracy.

These works are linked by the geographical location as well as the obvious tragedy of things left to decay.

Why Should We Come?

Two seemingly unrelated works are placed in conversation to each other and perhaps destabilise what people imagine South Africa is.

What Shouldn’t We Miss?

Well, the exhibition!

Your Biennial in Seven Words

Three, don’t miss it.

Until November 25
The Tea Factory
82 Wood Street
L1 4DQ
10am – 6pm

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