(South African, born 1956)
Untitled (Mozambique Series), 2008
lightjet print, 58 1/4 x 82 3/4 inches
©Kay Hassan. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Kay Hassan’s art is concerned with the plight of the displaced and the dispossessed, particularly in his home country of South Africa. This photograph is from a series of close-up images documenting detritus on the beaches of Mozambique, which borders South Africa. What at first may appear to be industrial pollution is, in fact, the remnants of clothing that have been carefully torn and cast into the river. This ritual, much like the shedding of an old skin, is enacted by some Mozambicans to commemorate the deceased, but the gesture can symbolize transformation for the living as well. Hassan studied art in Natal, South Africa and in Paris under Stanley William Hayter, a modern printmaker whose dynamic abstractions may have influenced the rhythmic composition of this photograph. Kay Hassan lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and exhibits his paintings, sculptures and photographs internationally.
When I was visiting Mozambique I went to the sea to observe a local cleansing ritual. The ritual entails people taking off their clothes and throwing them into the sea in a gesture of cleansing….the clothes are often washed off to the shores and thus create an ecological problem for the sea creatures.
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