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Not the Usual Suspects


The ISANG presents a publication in continuation of on-going research into public histories especially focused on the Market Photo Workshop

Media images and interview requests, please contact: Zikhona Jafta at

The publication Not the Usual Suspects, presented by the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG), follows an exhibition of a similar title – first on show at the ISANG between October 2018 and June 2019 – which offered reflections about photography training and the relationship between photography and memory. Broadly, Not the Usual Suspects is an on-going research project intended to contribute to debates about the productions of public narratives and archives in South African art history. 

Centred around the thirty-year celebrations (in 2019) of the iconic Johannesburg-based photography training institution – the Market Photo Workshop (MPW) – the project pays tribute to the MPW’s significant contribution to the field of photography in the region while drawing attention to the many people who have contributed to its development and vibrancy. Central to this are considerations about who we remember from the MPW and why, as well as how we commemorate them, in order to stimulate further research into the many diverse histories of the institution. 

Working with a broad conceptualisation of alumni of the MPW between 1989 (the inception of MPW) and 2018 – learners, trainers, mentors, project managers and other staff – the project engages with a select, intergenerational group of photographers to also reflect on issues of access, visibility and support in their photography practices and journeys. The work and role of public institutions such as the ISANG are also reflected on. Featuring thirty-seven, mainly independent artists from South Africa, Moçambique, Zimbabwe and Senegal, Not the Usual Suspects brings together the ‘official’ histories and archives of the MPW in dialogue with the private archives and memories of alumni to grapple with these questions.

The works and narratives represented in Not the Usual Suspects run a wide gamut of human experiences, with many of the photographers insisting that we look at and see some of the effects of neglect on certain bodies and communities, conditions and practices, spaces and environments. Through these works, essays and reflections, complex debates about the self and boundary with the ‘other’, home and belonging, community and kinship, nation, race and class, gender, the environment, technology, migration and the urban condition are considered.

With essays by MPW alumni and Curator of Photography and New Media at the Iziko SANG, Ingrid Masondo; artist and MPW trainer and facilitator, Michelle Harris; and artist and senior lecturer in Art History at the University of Cape Town, Nomusa Makhubu – the Not the Usual Suspects publication further engages head-on with the politics of care, and seeks to expand on the roles and uses of photography in society beyond commodity value. The project developer and curator, Ingrid Masondo, argues that Not the Usual Suspects is an intervention that speaks to the enduring orders of invisibility and neglect on the productions, histories and archives of women and queer photographers (and artists, generally).

Participating artists:
Nina Bekink, Jody Brand, Keran Ruth Elah, Tracy Edser, Shannon Ferguson, Jenny Gordon, Nidaa Husain, Dean Hutton, Angela Jimu, Davina Jogi, Euridice Zaituna Kala, Simangele Kalisa, Akona Kenqu, Lebohang Kganye, Gulshan Khan, Phumzile Khanyile, Michelle Loukidis, Lerato Maduna, Dahlia Maubane, Remofiloe Mayisela, Tshepiso Mazibuko, Bongiwe Mchunu, Keorapetse Mosimane, Ruth Motau, Annie Mpalume, Rosetta Msimango, Kresiah Mukwazhi, Lauren Mulligan, Monique Pelser, Bongiwe Phakathi, Cora Portais, Jo Ractliffe, Claire Rousell, Vathiswa Ruselo, Sally Shorkend, Samantha Simons, Lebogang Tlhako.

For more information on Not the Usual Suspects, and to order a copy of the publication, contact Ingrid Masondo at or on 021 481 3956. 

Throughout this uncertain period, Iziko has been online and working to showcase our unique work and collections on the website. Visit to explore all that we have on offer, and keep up-to-date on COVID19 safety protocols and opening hours. Make sure to also like, follow and share our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok!


Issued by: Ellen Agnew
Communications Coordinator: Iziko Museums of South Africa
Telephone: 021 481 3830 Email:
Issued on behalf of the Office of the CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa

About the Market Photo Workshop
As a school of photography, a gallery, and a project space, the Market Photo Workshop has played a pivotal role in the training of South Africa’s photographers, ensuring that visual literacy reaches neglected and marginalised parts of our society. Since it was founded in 1989 by world-renowned photographer David Goldblatt and many unacknowledged associates, the Photo Workshop has been an agent of change and representation, informing photographers, visual artists, educators, students and broader communities of trends, issues and debates in photography and visual culture. Learn more at

About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)
Iziko operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town.  The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage.  Iziko is a public entity and public benefit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure.  The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope, Groot Constantia and Planetarium and Digital Dome). Visit our webpage at, join our online community on Facebook (, Instagram (@izikomuseumssa) or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions.

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