Roelof Petrus van Wyk’s camera lens attempts to flip the focus of the colonial gaze. His images recall Golden Age Dutch portraits – all dark in background, subjects in concentrated light – and aim to explore whiteness. What whiteness is and what it means especially for young post-apartheid South Africans. White as other, whiteness to be pondered, prodded and understood.
Explaining the through-line inspiration for his work van Wyk says: “Part of the apartheid propaganda was that we the Afrikaners were the ‘chosen volk’, as in the bible. We’re not chosen. We are Africans. We are part of Africa and we are exploring what that identity means.”
Van Wyk’s work has been shown in London before as part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s ‘Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography’.
Exhibition: 6-16 March
Opening Hours: Tues- Sat, 10-6
Jack Bell Gallery
13 Mason’s Yard, St James’s, London