Urban Gaze winners and exhibition

  • GCRO
  • Date of publication: 30 June 2019

Urban Gaze, a project of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), is a documentary photography competition aimed at promoting the work of emerging, Gauteng-based photographers. The competition was launched in December 2018 and ran until March 2019. An exhibition of the finalists’ and winning entries opened on 2 May 2019 and was on display at the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank, Johannesburg, until 30 June 2019.

The Urban Gaze Competition 2019 was an opportunity for professional and amateur photographers to capture how residents of the city-region view and experience Gauteng. The project was created by the GCRO with a view to generating visual content and aptly portraying the city-region’s people and places in its publications and online platforms.

The Urban Gaze exhibition, presented by the GCRO in partnership with Keyes Art Mile, opened on 2 May with the competition awards. The entries on display offer an intimate gaze into the many diverse places, people and issues that make up the Gauteng City-Region, and feature photographs by all the shortlisted entrants alongside the overall winner and winners in each of the competition's five categories:

Overall winner: Mokone Mphela


Winner 'Histories and Futures' (Category A): Jaco Roets


Winner 'Place and Movement' (Category B): Kgao Bonaventure Mashego


Winner 'Economy and Economic Life' (Category C): Alastair Maclachlan


Winner 'Sustainability and the Environment' (Category D): Mark Lewis


Winner 'A Province and its People' (Category E): Thato Mabaso


"GCRO is passionate about the Gauteng City-Region and its people, and we are privileged to showcase this set of photographs, taken by people who live in this extraordinary place,” said Dr Rob Moore, Executive Director, GCRO. “The Urban Gaze competition invites us to see the city-region through the eyes of its residents, to document both what is familiar and what is strange, to illuminate the unseen, and to make visible the contradictions of our urban society.”

The Urban Gaze exhibition also presents an inspirational body of work by established Gauteng-based photographer, Musa Nxumalo, which explores youth culture, identity and the shared journey towards self-discovery. Nxumalo was born in Soweto, where he currently lives and works. After training at the Market Photo Workshop, he first gained recognition for ‘Alternative Kidz’ (2009) and ‘In/Glorious’ (2012), which later formed part of his 2015 solo exhibition, ‘In Search Of…’. More recently, Nxumalo earned further acclaim for his ability to meld social documentary with fine art photography through his ongoing project ‘The Anthology of Youth’.

“We are thrilled to be showcasing Musa Nxumalo’s work as part of Urban Gaze,” commented Smac Gallery Director, Jean Butler. “Musa provides a powerful context for the wonderful emerging talent that the Urban Gaze competition drew out of the province’s 15 million residents.”

The Urban Gaze exhibition remained open until 30 June 2019 in the Atrium of the Trumpet Building on the Keyes Art Mile. Shortlisted and winning entries can also be viewed online at https://www.urbangaze.org/.


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