Foam x Aperture: Celebrating the Legacy of Ernest Cole

For the current exhibition House of Bondage by Ernest Cole, Foam has joined forces with Aperture to host a special online event celebrating the enduring legacy of Ernest Cole (1940-1990). During the evening, a distinguished panel of experts will share their insights and reflections on Cole's powerful photographic work, which captured the brutal realities of apartheid-era South Africa, exposing the dehumanizing effects of racial oppression in the daily life of black South Africans.

About the event

During the evening, the renowned guest speakers will share their insights and reflections on Cole's photographic work, which is considered a historical reference and a powerful testament to the resilience of those who fought for justice and equality.  

Curator Hinde Haest will speak about the extensive research process that preceded the exhibition currently on view at Foam. Leslie Matlaisane, Chairperson of the Ernest Cole Family Trust and nephew of Ernest Cole, will provide his unique insights into Cole's life and photographic practice. Denise Wolff, the editor at Aperture responsible for republishing Cole's publication House of Bondage, will discuss the inclusion of recently discovered colour works from Cole's final years in New York. Curator and Scholar Oluremi Onabanjo, who contributed the essay “Black Spots. Photographic Spectres” to this publication, will contextualize Cole's work, highlighting his contribution to the history of South African photography at large.   

Do not miss the opportunity to engage with leading thinkers in the field and explore the enduring impact of Cole's ground-breaking photography. 

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South Africa, 1960s © Ernest Cole / Magnum Photos

About the exhibition

Foam proudly presents an overview of the work of South African photographer Ernest Cole. The photographer is celebrated for his tireless documentation of Black lives in South Africa under apartheid: a regime of institutionalised racial segregation that was in effect from 1948 to the early 1990s. The exhibition includes parts of his archive, which had long been considered lost.

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South Africa, 1960s © Ernest Cole/Magnum Photos.

This exhibition was made in collaboration with the Ernest Cole Family Trust and Magnum Photos.

The exhibition opens in tandem with the launch of two volumes published by Aperture: the first a republication of House of Bondage, the second presenting the US work for the first time in history.

Black and white image of photogrpher Ernest Cole

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Foam x Aperture: Celebrating the Legacy of Ernest Cole