PHOTOVILLE NYC: Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie

PHOTOVILLE NYC: Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie

Farren van Wyk

External Location
Free

Throughout parks and public spaces in New York City, USA

Please note: this event has already taken place

PHOTOVILLE NYC: Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie

Farren van Wyk

Melkweg Expo presents Farren van Wyk and her project Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie at Photoville in New York City

Farren van Wyk (1993) was born in Salsoneville, Port Elizabeth, just a few kilometers from Schauderville, but has been living in the Netherlands since she was six. She’s been studying the gang culture from the inside since 2016 and learned about the men who formed their identity while being part of a gang, and who sometimes peacefully stepped out of the group as well. She went back numerous times, photographed the neigbourhoud and the people, and saw how a history of continued oppression drastically changed this community. Van Wyk was able to present the positive and more human side of a district where gang wars are part of daily life.

When South Africa became a democratic country in 1994, the reality of most South Africans did not change. During apartheid, racial segregation was implemented and enforced by many acts and laws. Coloured people (a term referring to people of mixed race during apartheid) were sent to remote and impoverished neighborhoods. Criminal activities increased and as a result groups of men took on the role of police officers to take care of their own community. These groups have evolved into different gangs. Schauderville is a small district in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and has the most gang-related activities. Therefore it has turned into one of the most dangerous places in the area.

While photographing, these men kept van Wyk safe and gave her the space and time to capture a different side of a community that is being stereotyped as aggressive and violent. Prejudices they can’t shake, even if they cut ties with their criminal past and want to change their life. 

In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Photoville is continuing to adjust to this new reality with creativity and flexibility. This year Photoville will create an outdoor exhibition throughout parks and public spaces in NYC that will remain on view for several months so that more communities can enjoy them while using these open spaces as a place to recharge, exercise, and relax.

Melkweg Expo presents Farren van Wyk together with co-curator Jenny Smets, United Photo Industries and with the support of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.