Shooting Resistance: South African Photography 1976-1994



Axis Gallery, New York
February 1 – March 16, 2002

Held in celebration of Black History Month, the exhibition documents the period of upheavals that began with the student-led Soweto Uprising of 1976 and culminated in the collapse of the Apartheid regime and the introduction of democratic elections in 1994.


‘Shooting Resistance’ includes 65 images from 24 leading South African photographers. It begins with Sam Nzima’s famous 1976 photograph of the corpse of Hector Petersen carried in the arms of a friend, after being shot by police. It tracks the most repressive phase of the Apartheid regime in the mid-1980s, when resistance gained momentum although South Africa was placed under virtual martial law, and many of the images on exhibition were outlawed. The photographic journey ends with the final paroxysms of violence when political parties jostled for power in the period between the release of Mandela in 1990 and the historic elections in 1994, which finally introduced democracy.

Prints are available for sale individually or as a complete archive. The exhibition is also available for travel within the United States, where South Africa’s historical struggle for civil rights resonates with American history.

Featured artists include Omar Badsha, Gille De Vlieg, Paul Grendon, Louise Gubb, Themba Hadebe, Steve Hilton-Barber, Alf Kumalo, TJ Lemon, John Liebenberg, Peter Magubane, Motlhalefi Mahlabe, Greg Marinovich, Gideon Mendel, Santu Mofokeng, Nkosi Nkosini, Sam Nzima, Ken Oosterbroek, Jürgen Schadeberg, Joao Silva, Brent Stirton, Guy Tillim, Paul Velasco, Paul Weinberg, and Graeme Williams.