12/01/2023 - 08/02/2023

Mid C20th - Photography

George Hallett (1942-2020) - Embedded Text—Embodied Narratives

Daily: 10-8pm

An exhibition exploring the relationship between written signs, African literature and image-making processes in the work of South African photographer George Hallett (1942-2020).

Curated by Christine Eyene, Embedded Text - Embodied Narratives presents photographs from Hallett’s 1960s District Six series - a culturally mixed neighbourhood of Cape Town that was declared ‘White-only’ by the apartheid government in 1966. In 1968, before the forced removals and demolitions, Hallett captured some of the district’s landmarks, its community, everyday life and social events. This series, one of Hallett’s first major bodies of work, has become part of South Africa’s heritage.

The images focus on street scenes and views in which the walls become textured surfaces combining abstract patterns, graffiti, signs, words, and names of some of the gangs active in the area.

The exhibition shows how written signs shifted from the background in the District Six, to foreground elements cohabiting with pre-existing images and new photographic compositions created for the book covers of the African Writers Series (AWS) published by Heinemann in the 1970s and early 1980s.


Bloomsbury 46 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD