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Pieter Hugo's 'Kin' Explores the Lasting Effects of Colonialism

By: Vasiliki Marapas - Published: • References: pieterhugo and beautifuldecay
Pieter Hugo's latest series, 'Kin,' explores the intersectionality of race, social status, economic devastation and human sexuality in South Africa, a place he refers to as "fractured, schizophrenic, wounded and problematic."

Though the photographs are fraught with the trauma of colonial context, the entire series manages to retain an air of serenity, achieved through Hugo's calming relationship with the subject and his own lens. Each subject's vulnerability and truth is expressed, regardless of who they are.

Describing his project, Hugo explains, “[Kin] is an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being ‘colonial driftwood.' [South Africa] is a very violent society and the scars of colonialism and apartheid still run very deep. Issues of race and cultural custodianship permeate every aspect of society, and the legacy of forced racial segregation casts a long shadow.”