To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world – and at the same time that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are. Marshall Berman

I the first generation of the post Apartheid South Africa, I’m driven, confused and enthused by modernism. Musa Nxumalo

Afronova is today launching its new gallery space in Braamfontein with a solo exhibition by young but already acclaimed photographer Musa Nxumalo.

Born in Soweto in 1986, Musa Nxumalo first came into the spotlight as the recipient of the fourth Edward Ruiz Award 2008 with his debut exhibition Alternative Kidz in 2009, produced under the auspices of the Market Photo Workshop and funded by AngloGold Ashanti. Portraying urban black youth who choose to identify with alternative culture, both culturally dissonant and individually liberating, his startling black and white photographs instantly captured the attention of local and international collectors and curators and features in important exhibitions in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands.

Musa Nxumalo’s new series of colour photographs was created on various occasions such as trips to and from regular hanging–out spots and visits to families outside Johannesburg. But in most cases…it is planned “gatherings” with friends as usual, a bit like a young contemporary Malick Sidibé in urban South Africa. His photography integrates documentary and fine art photography practices used to explore and reflect on both the society he grew up in and currently live in as well as on his identity and personal perspective as a young black man living in South Africa. Nxumalo’s images research the identity of this generation that is living in this particular juncture in South Africa, by scrutinising and reflecting the flux of self-defined identities within cultural practices generally not associated with ‘township culture’, such as jazz or kwaito, but instead with alternative practices such as rock music.

Exhibition runs until Saturday 16 October