(1963 – )

Margot Muir

Margot Muir in discussion on her Lightness of being; Rain Series:

This work is indebted to exposure to diverse, celebratory, ceremonial, spirited music and monody, to cigarette smoke and seeing, to the restorative power of rain and landscape, to the sensualities of life and the intuitive, to the work of C Y Twombly, Anish Kapoor, and Yves Klein.  

Like Judith Joy Ross—the photographer whose work, among many others, stretches me and influences me profoundly—I have a radical belief in the individual. There is a perfect space between (and within) the potential strength of the collective and the talent, character, and thrust of each of us. It seems to me that there is an exquisite space between the spectacle of Western individualism and the intelligence of collective humanism and its profound power. The coalescing of the individual being (and individual presence, voice and affirmation in the world) and ‘I am because of others’. The assumption that Ubuntu necessarily informs an absence of individuality is a distortion, not so? In parallel, I reflect with clarity that we will lose something deep inside of ourselves if we allow the wilderness to be destroyed.

I refer to W Eugene Smith’s quote: “…and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future – causing them caution and remembrance and realization.”

My lens seeks to consciously complicate stereotypes. And at once, questions the status quo. I remain curious and passionate and view doubt as a highly productive quality. And, in acknowledging our human fragility, together with our historical human legacy in the Western world of brutalising master-slave dominance and othering, together with our capacity for wonder, intellectual passion, capacity to love, and resilient clarity. I have a radical belief in the intelligence and sensibility of the natural world and each of humankind.

I am a mature documentary photographer; I am nearly 60, and this work is my lifeblood. My work crystallised under the teaching of Chris Giglio’s Grammar of Photography series at the International Center of Photography in New York. My work has been exhibited and awarded both locally and internationally and is now in the permanent collection of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. I am a teacher and a scholar, I lectured in Visual Arts at the Nelson Mandela University for 10 years, and I will teach again in 2023 in the newly formed non-profit (online) C.A.T. Photography Institute together with nine other founding members: Mandisa Buthelezi, Ashraf Jamal, Tim Hopwood, James Sey, Meg Rickards, Roddy MacInnes, Nick Hauser and Nontsikelelo Veleko (and, in time, if I can finally persuade them, Zanele Muholi).



Sunny Side Up, Group exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa

Group Exhibition “New Day”, Graham Contemporary, Johannesbnurg
Solo exhibition “Remains of the Visible”, Nelson Mandela University
Bird St gallery, Gqeberha.
Solo exhibition, “We Should All Be Feminists”, GFI gallery, Gqeberha
Group exhibition “The Collection of the City 2022”, Nelson Mandela
Metropolitan Art Museum, Gqeberha. (The work purchased by the
Museum permanent collection)
Group exhibition, “Mix Tape”, Artec, Gqeberha
Group exhibition, “103rd Annual Exhibition” Artec, Gqeberha
Group exhibition, “Its a Dog’s life”, curated by Elizabeth Avedon, USA

Group exhibition, Sasol New Signatures finalist, Gauteng
Group exhibition, Africa Photo Awards finalist, Gauteng
Group exhibition, Mix Tape, Artec , Gqeberha
Group exhibition, “Essential Water”, Photoplace Gallery, USA
Group Exhibition, “Mothers”, SouthxSouthEast gallery, USA
Finalist exhibition “Home from Home” Life Framer. curated by Marion
Tande, Museum of Modern Art, USA.

Group staff/student exhibition Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha
Group staff exhibition Bird Street Art Gallery, Gqeberha

Group postgraduate exhibition, The Red Location Museum, Gqeberha

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