Paul Seawright

invisible cities

18 November - 17 December 2005

The fastest growing cities in the world are on the African continent. By 2015 Lagos, Nigeria will become the worlds second largest city, smaller only than Tokyo. Urban Africa remains hidden in the blind spot of the West, obscured by larger more urgent issues like the Aids pandemic and persistent rural famine. These photographs from Lagos, Johannesburg, Lusaka and Addis Ababa present a glimpse into the unplanned settlements on the periphery of these cities - settlements that are cities in their own right but are characteristically unplanned and chaotic, often dwarfing the metropolis that spawned them.
Typically Seawrights works provide little context and avoid comfortable narrative. The photographs mimic our uneasiness with the subject of Africa or more generally the urban poor. They simultaneously describe in detail and refuse the kind of detailed description that often leads to clichéd and reductive editorial comment. As we move between anxious interiors and the perilous fringes of city landscapes, we repeatedly encounter an occluded frame ­ reminiscent of Seawrights Belfast, tense troubled and stubbornly resistant to analysis.

Seawright has exhibited in many venues throughout Europe and North and South America including the Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. His solo exhibitions include the FotoMusem Provincie Antwerpen, the Photographers' Gallery, London, the Imperial War Museum, London, Milton Keynes Gallery and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

Awards include the prestigious Ville de Paris Artist Award in 1999 and the Irish Museum of Modern Art/Glen Dimplex Prize in 1997. He is represented in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Imperial War Museum, London, the Art Institute of Chicago and the International Centre of Photography, New York among others and in numerous private collections.


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