From Wednesday, February 8, 2017, to Saturday 11, 2017, Market Photo Workshop will present Plastic Crowns, a solo exhibition by 2015 Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship Recipient Phumzile Khanyile.

Plastic Crowns stems from the idea of taking a perceived “prestigious” ornament as a royal or beauty pageant crown and turning it into an object that anyone can purchase and enthrone themselves to be royalty for a day. It is the journey of deciding who you are: the constant conception and reinvention of oneself.

This body of work probes stereotypical ideas of gender, sexual preference and related stigmas and their relevance in contemporary society. It questions how having multiple partners can be an expression of choice as opposed to it being an indicator of low morality, based on societal conventions. The work concerns itself with being at an intersection between traditional and contemporary culture and how the photographer finds herself wrestling with the contestation of this in-between space.

Phumzile Khanyile was born in Soweto. She enrolled at the Market Photo Workshop in August 2013 and successfully completed the foundation, intermediate and advanced courses in the photography programme. In 2015 she was awarded the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship and her body of work ‘1411 Mohapi Street’ was showcased at a group exhibition Seeing Through the Complexities of Difference at Kalashnikovv Gallery.

In 2016 Phumzile began working with her Mentor Ayana. V. Jackson in developing this body of work for the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship. In the same year, her work was showcased at the Joburg Art Fair in the Market Photo Workshop booth and she was one of the panels at the Market Theatre 40 Year Celebration event. She was also one of the 10 participants in Photo’s inaugural 10:10 platform.

The Market Photo Workshop, for over twenty-seven years, has played a pivotal role in the training of South Africa’s photographers, ensuring that visual literacy reaches the neglected and marginalized parts of our society. World-renowned photographer, David Goldblatt contributed vastly to the establishment of Market Photo Workshop in 1988 – 1999. Since then, the Photo Workshop has

been an agent of change, informing photographers, visual artists, educators, students and broader communities of trends, issues, and debates in photography and visual culture.

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