Berlin Fellowship 2023 — Visual Arts

Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo

*1993, South Africa
Lives in Johannesburg (SA)


Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo is a photographer based in Lawley, Johannesburg. He uses the shebeen run by his parents as a studio in which to investigate themes of first-hand and generational trauma, violence and memory. Hlatshwayo was mentored by the photographer Jabulani Dhlamini and photography curator and educator John Fleetwood. He won the 2019 CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography with his series “Slaghuis I” and was one of the five winners of the New Cosmos of Photography prize with “Slaghuis II” in 2021. His work has been featured in group exhibitions at Fotomuseum Winterthur, IAF Basel Festival, and Johannesburg’s Turbine Art Fair. Hlatshwayo was the Gisèle Wulfsohn Photography Mentorship Recipient for 2019. He held his first solo exhibition Slaghuis II at the Market Photo Workshop in February 2020, and was an overall winner of the international Blurring the Lines photo award for 2020. His work will be featured at the upcoming Rencontres de Bamako and Addis Foto Fest in December 2022.


During my residency, I intend to further develop Umnyakazo, which explores the notions of movement, stillness and moments in-between. I explore the movement of surfaces, thinking about how various surfaces carry memories, multiple encounters and ultimately inheritances. I am intrigued by how people record in surfaces, how surfaces are important witnesses, and how stories through interactions find life in surfaces; how walls can become a space for private and intimate expression. I am also intrigued by the movement of birth, life and death in these surfaces. The process of working with materiality continues from Slaghuis, where I treat the image as the surface. This is a continuing meditation of the perpetual and evolving mark, 'the after' or 'the life of afters'/ aftermaths. This 'after' always brings itself back to Umnyakazo, where something is happening, having happened, or bubbling underneath. I look to experiment with materials that will express this movement, its continuation and its temporality.