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Protea Boekhuis

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Roger Ballen Discusses South Africa, His Career and the Role of Art with Jonathan Blaustein

DorpsJonathan Blaustein from A Photo Editor interviewed Roger Ballen about living in South Africa, his career in photography and the role of art in the 21st century.

Ballen discussed the state of South Africa, saying that although there are problems there are also positives. “What happens here shouldn’t necessarily be seen in relationship to Europe or America. It should be seen in relation to the rest of the continent, which also has significant challenges,” he said.

JB: Why did you choose to move to South Africa from the United States?

RB: When I was a young man in my early twenties, in 1973, it was a time of cultural revolution. I guess I was swept up with that. I graduated from University of California, Berkeley, and was quite restless. Previous to traveling from Cairo to Capetown in 1974, two important things happened. One is I got interested in painting for about six months, and the second thing my mother died in early ’73.

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