Archive

The Archive is a selected compilation of writings and videos.

The visibility of invisible moments by Ashraf Jamal

IT WAS English art critic John Berger who said: "The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play not with form, but with time." His interpretation is of particular relevance to the work of Omar Badsha, a trade unionist, activist, and artist who, since the 1960s, has devoted himself to recording the workers’ struggle, the plight of the disenfranchised, and the longing for a truly nonracial, democratic settlement in SA.

Badsha's lens don't lie , The Daily News, 19 September 1979

LETTER to Farzanah is the title of a book by the Durban artist and photographer Omar Badsha, hist first. To Launch the book and to co-include with its publication, an exhibition of th original photographs has been mounted at the Hermit Gallery. Badsha has been part of the...

Video: Omar Badsha (Artist and Photographer) talks about Seedtime retrospective

Published on Jun 8, 2015

Omar Badsha is one of South Africa’s most celebrated documentary photographers. He has exhibited extensively in South Africa and worldwide and is considered as one of the early pioneers of “resistance art”. Currently on at Iziko South African National Gallery is a major exhibition of Omar’s drawings, cut outs and photographic essays and it was indeed an honour to have met up with this award winning artist and political activist.

Struggle shooter puts the ‘fist and flag’ label to rest by Tymon Smith

Omar Badsha jokes with two of the gallery assistants at the National Gallery that they are back late from their lunch break, a right he fought for them to have back in the ’70s when he was involved in the trade union movement. The assistants are setting up in one of the four rooms set aside for Seedtime, a major exhibition of Badsha’s drawings, woodcuts and photography that opens this week. In the room where we’re sitting, photos from his series on India, Road to Tadkeshwar, are propped against the wall, awaiting their turn to be prepared. They’re just a small selection of the almost half a century’s worth of work that Badsha, who turns 70 this year, has produced since he started making art as a teenager in his hometown of Durban.

Interview with Omar Badsha by Mary Marshall Clark, Johannesburg, August 7 1999

Q:  Omar Badsha, thank you so much for being with us.  I want to ask you a little bit about your own personal and political background and how you became a photographer and why you chose the kind of photography you did.  

Praise poem for the photographer Omar Badsha by Neelika Jayawardane

Emmanuel Kant would have been distraught if he were to see Omar Badsha’s work.

Neither great beauties nor scenic vistas meant to evoke sublime pleasure were the focus of Badsha’s camera. His eye—sharp and contentious as his tongue is known to be—cuts through the cultural baggage that trains us to look at the beautiful and the acceptably pretty.

Seeing and Being Seen: Politics, Art and the Everyday in Omar Badsha's Durban Photography, 1960s-1980s by Patricia Hayes

There is an assumption that the photographic iconography of the South African struggle against apartheid is universally known and familiar. It is however dominated by certain tropes and categories that obscure the many complexities and nuances of its origins, its practitioners and its effects.

Revisions: Omar Badsha by Gabi Ngcobo

Omar Badsha is a self-taught artist who first received mentorship from his father, who was also an artist and a commercial photographer. His career dates from the early 1960s when he was part of a generation of artist-activists of the immediate post-Sharpeville era. His early work consisted of drawing and woodcuts. He was influenced on one hand by his father’s interest in Arabic calligraphy, and on the other by the work of Cecil Skotnes (qv.) and later, by Dumile Feni (qv.).

Omar Badsha: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Badsha started off his artistic career as a print maker, (he won a prize on the 1965 Art - South Africa - Today exhibition for one of his woodcuts) ; this was followed by charcoal drawings which show the influence of Dumile who was then living in Durban. These drawings are characterised by the use of swift, economic lines which capture the very essence of his subject.

From the house on Douglas Lane by Nechama Brodie

"Mother and Child" by Omar Badsha

Omar Badsha is best known as a photographer and activist, but his exhibition offers insight into a neglected era of South African art and culture.

This is not where the story begins, but it is where I’ll begin: 1949 in the Grey Street complex, Durban—the area also known as Coolie Town or the Casbah. It is the year of the Durban riots, when 142 people will lose their lives in a weekend of violence. Omar Badsha is four years old.

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