Ashley Walters “ Uitsig “ exhibition t the Sanlam Art Gallery, Bellville
24 June- 15 August
Sanlam Art Gallery, 2 Strand Road, Bellville
Contact: Stefan Hundt on 021 947 3359
“ Which Uitsig ? ‘’ I wondered. I am a snotty white person, the only Uistig that I know is in Glacial Look, Land Rover on Valium, sheepdog land, Constantia.
A far cry from the alluring image of threadbare Pink Panther hanging up to dry, with razor wire coils supervising the scene from above.
And a proud brakhond stretching out of its meager kennel,to gaze at a distant spot, somewhere, above the photographer.
There are apparently, other Uitsigs. This one refers to a location in the Cape Flats and along with Delf, Eureka and sundry Mysterious to the Outside World locations, that the Group Areas act created, is revealed in all it’s unique carousel lively glory.
Ashley Walters avoided the use of the lurid and the stereotypical images that would reduce the magic of his environments to a the banality of a tabloid .
Instead he allows his sense of wonder and respect for the unique tapestries woven from dignified humanity in aesthetically less florid locations than Constantia, full bloom.
High school beauty pageants,with doll - like teenagers teetering on a stage above a fun fair, the Gospel Church gathering, the birthday party with jumping castle, bored dogs on dry as the moon gardens.
There is an extraordinary sense of dignified self preservation that emanates from the photographs.
Unity and spirit forge together a luminous bond, in a place where plastic relics of the 70s can be given pride of place on scrupulously polished chip board surfaces, and where the Robison Crusoe survivor sensibility is not a source of shame.
Humbling, humorous and exceptionally filmic, the body of work on exhibition has a mature emotional range that is not commonly found in colour photography with “ how we live” subject matter.
As palces to go and see, Uitsig, Ravensmead, et al. will remain forever fly specs on the map, to the majority of South Africans.
Dust blown, scraggly treed, where the low cost apple pie cools on the yellow tablecloth.
And the sad hand me down Pink Panther, that swings over the kennel, may survive to be resurrected, as another child’s toy.
Ashley Walters has an Uitsig for you that will melt your heart.