Hasan and Husain Essop: Unrest

Over the course of a decade, twin brothers Hasan and Husain Essop have grown from art school graduates to internationally recognised and multiple award-winning artists.

During this period the scope of their work has always been in the intersection of the local and the global: their work engages with the local inflections of global conflicts.

These conflicts are often described in popular discourse and news reportage as "religious" or "cultural" (antagonism between the East and the West, between Islam and Christianity, between Sunni and Shia). But what emerges in the photographic images created by the Essops is a much more complicated story, of migration and diaspora, of cultural and economic exchange, of geographical and historical particularity, of individual and collective identity politics.

In the body of work collected in Unrest, their lenses are turned once again on Cape Town. The heritage of the Bo-Kaap and the legacy represented by the Cape's kramats are set against the blight of poverty, gangsterism and drugs on the Cape Flats. The memory of forced displacement in District Six is counterpointed with the unfulfilled promise of freedom manifested in informal settlements like Mandela Park. The danger of cliché and stereotype is addressed by turns with pathos (in depictions of xenophobic violence and looting) and with humour (in the unlikely conjunction of the Sea Point promenade with jihadist training).

Visitors will recognise their signature style and method. Making use of a rotating tripod and digital "stitching" technology, the Essops construct panoramic scenes populated by figures that are uncannily similar - they are the only subjects in their photographs, a technique developed out of respect for the injunction against the idolatrous portrayal of human beings contained in the hadith (traditional Muslim teachings).

The result is a set of images that are both earnest and playful, capturing complex narratives in the freeze-frame moment of a composite photograph.

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