Opening of 1:1 by Alinka Echeverría

Sunday, 9 August, 2015 - 16:00

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is pleased to announce 1:1 by Alinka Echeverría, the British-Mexican artist’s first solo exhibition on the African continent. Drawing from bodies of work created over the past five years, 1:1 brings into conversation photographic works developed in seemingly disparate locations within the global South. Mexico, South Sudan, and South Africa are sites that the artist has engaged with closely to interrogate contemporary ideas of the nation state, the formation of identity, the relationship between knowledge and belief, and the deep undercurrents of interconnection that run through the human experience. Placed in the context of the colonial-era building of the Johannesburg Art Gallery her works engage in a reappropriation of space that speaks to changing modes of seeing and the globalised linkages being made between south-oriented cultures.

In the award-winning series Becoming South Sudan, Echeverría takes us to a specific moment in time in the creation of the world’s newest nation state. Photographed in the weeks preceding the declaration of independence in 2011, this three-chaptered series explores the act of wearing as a mode of becoming, self determination, and self-reflection in a monumental shift in this society. Through powerful and sometimes confrontational portraits Echeverría captures the revealing gaze of individuals at a pivotal time in their lives and country.

1:1 will also feature a selection from the series The Road to Tepeyac, a meditation on the icon through the image of pilgrims to the site of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Tepeyac Hill, Mexico City. This photographic series, which launched Echeverría’s career and garnered her the HSBC Prize for Photography in 2011, deconstructs the philosophical, psychological, and anthropological relationship between an invisible presence and its material expression. A video work, To see Her and let Her see me and audio work, And so it was told, accompany the series and question the role of vision in systems of belief, the perception of image, and how image is embedded in language and constructed codes of communication.

Newer, sculptural works will also feature in this survey of Echeverría’s practice. Made during a residency at the NIROX Sculpture Park in Maropeng, and directly referencing the site of all human origin at the Cradle of Humankind, these works examine animals as totemic forces, the process of making precious, as well as the presence of gold as the catalyst for the establishment and growth of Johannesburg. Echeverría's work is a persistent and bold reminder that we do not always see things exactly as they are, that we are sometimes wilfully blind and at other times overly sighted.


Alinka Echeverría is a Mexican-British artist, working primarily in photography and video. Recently selected as 2015 BMW Photographer-in-Residence at the Nicéphore Niépce Museum, she was named ‘International Photographer of the Year’ of 2012 by the Lucie Awards, and won the HSBC Prize for Photography in 2011. She has been shortlisted for the FOAM Talent Award, the Magnum Expression Award and nominated for the FOAM Paul Huf and Prix Pictet Awards. Her work has been widely exhibited at international venues, including Maison European de la Photographie in Paris, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Moscow Photobiennale.

Echeverría earned her MA in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh prior to studying photography at the International Center of Photography in New York.


Panel Discussion: 9 August, 2pm. Panellists include Sean O’Toole (art critic), Raimi Gbadamosi (artist and academic) and Alinka Echeverría.

Curators Talk: TBA

For exhibition information please contact Tiny Malefane at

The gallery is located on King George Street, between Wolmarans and Noord Streets in Joubert Park, Johannesburg.