APARTHEID-era South Africa is at the center of a powerful photographic exhibition at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.

    Entitled ‘South Africa in the 1970s: Photographs by Steve Bloom’, the exhibition will feature historic photos, which had been abandoned in an attic for decades, depicting life under the state-imposed regime of racism. .

    The traveling exhibition will be the first time the photos of world-renowned photographer Steve Bloom have been shown in the Midlands. It takes place from Saturday February 4 to Sunday May 14, 2023.

    South Africa’s apartheid system of enforced racial segregation was in place from the late 1940s to the early 1990s, giving social, political and economic dominance to the country’s white minority over its black population.

    Apartheid began to erode when black schoolchildren took to the streets in 1976 to protest against new laws introduced to give them an inferior education. The authorities cracked down ruthlessly, killing and injuring many people. It was a time of realization: the end of white complacency and black defeatism.

    Steve Bloom, then in his early twenties, took to the streets and townships – photographing people at this pivotal time in history. Some of the images, edgy and fleeting, capture the tension and excitement of the times. Others, like portraits of miserable people, show the utter despair of people under apartheid.

    Bloom captured the emotional essence of when South Africa began to experience true unstoppable dissent. The exhibition contains images of black humour, irony and sadness.

    In September 1977, Bloom traveled to London where he donated some of his photographs to the International Defense and Aid Fund, an organization under the auspices of the United Nations whose primary role was to raise awareness of apartheid and to defend those tried for having broken apartheid. laws. They exhibited and released some of the images, which led to his exile in the UK.

    Many images sat in boxes in an attic for decades until 2009 when he began printing a selection of the best negatives.

    In 2012, the Guardian Gallery in London exhibited a series of photos. The exhibition has since been expanded to include a wider selection of photographs as well as artifacts from Britain’s anti-apartheid movement.

    Steve Bloom said: “Photography is a powerful medium through which viewers understand the lives of others and connect with historic world events. I am really delighted that this exhibition is presented in Leicester.

    The City of Leicester’s Deputy Mayor for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, added: “The images in this exhibition tell a powerful and compelling story of an important period in history, when the world witnessed the resistance against the South African state supported by system of racial segregation and oppression.

    “These striking images capture the lives of people living under the shadow of apartheid at a turning point in the country’s history.”

    The traveling exhibition was previously presented at Canterbury’s Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in 2020.


    Main picture: Green Point, Cape Town 1977. Green Point is a residential suburb close to the city centre. The effect of apartheid was to engender feelings of indifference across the color line.

    Other pictures: Woman with her husband, stroke victim, Manenbergnear Cape Town, 1976. Cchildren play in the rubble of their demolished homes, District Six, Cape Town.

    Note to editors:

    For press inquiries, please email info@stevebloom.com

    Office: 01233 813777

    Mobile: 07710 380832

    Attached Photographs – Usage Rights: up to four images, non-exclusive one time only solely for the purpose of promoting the exhibition specified in this announcement, until May 14, 2023. All photos must be credited: © Steve Bloom.

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