From February 11 to March 2, 2017, Art in the Yard will present Private SPACE Public PLACE, a solo photographic exhibition of dance by South African artist Matthew Willman, featuring works created from a direct product of an intense and often challenging journey to find understanding, expression, and learning.

An artist in every sense, Willman trained for 20 years in ballet, which flowed from theatre into the visual arts of photography. Whilst contemplating a move to Europe, he decided to stay in South Africa and embark on a journey to find Nelson Mandela. This commitment saw Willman transcend divides in order to discover and document in intimate detail the people and places of South Africa’s collective story. His images are a testimony to his courage and journey that today, have been recognised by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late Nelson Mandela as set pieces of iconic history in South Africa.

Willman has the pleasure of working with individuals from a cross-section of our global community with Commissions that include: US Presidents Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Nelson Mandela Foundation, The World Health Organisation, Oxfam International and singer/songwriter Annie Lennox. His repertoire includes 12 Presidents, 8 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and a host of sports personalities, musicians, politicians, and philanthropists.

Public 7, fibre base 300 gsm archive paper, 80cm x 60cm / 80cm x 80cm. Edition of 5

Perhaps one of Willman’s greatest achievements and one that plays a significant role in contributing to the recording and preservation of South Africa’s democratic change is his work as commissioned photographer to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and for 10 years with Mandela himself. Since 2003, Willman was commissioned to archive and document the life and times of Nelson Mandela, which over the years afforded many incredibly intimate experiences with a man who for the artist embodies the very spirit and conviction South Africans possess. His work features prominently in 4 best-selling books on Mandela, and his collection of work is now central to the Mandela Centre of Memory & Presidential Library in Johannesburg.


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