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South Africa, 2019

Cover - Catalogue Attached to the Soil.JPG

Created in 2019, the 25th anniversary of President Nelson Mandela's inaugural address, the Attached to the Soil project began with a series of fifty photographic portrait tableaus by the American photographer and MSU Professor of Art, Peter Glendinning, created during his service as a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa. Each was the result of collaborations between him and two others. First, a young person whose soil related metaphor conveyed their sense of some aspect of the nation that they will inherit from past generations. Also, a portrait subject who shared stories from their lives related to the metaphor.

As South Africa moves into the next 25 years of its development, the collaborators hope that the project can serve as a means of reflection on its youths' aspirations for the nation.

The fifty portraits and their accompanying stories were published in an exhibit catalog (see the lovely cover above!) to accompany the exhibits at six South African university art galleries, where it is available for purchase to support ongoing programs. 

See the art gallery locations and exhibit dates.


Adam Habib.jpgRead the foreword to the Attached to the Soil catalog, by Dr. Adam Habib, South African political scientist, activist and current Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

"South Africa comprises a people who want to belong, who desire unity, and want to live in peace with their neighbours whatever their identity, cultural expressions, or historical trajectory"

Photographic Portrait Tableaus

A sample of twenty of the fifty projects completed by South African university students, their collaborators, and Professor Glendinning

Arranged by first name of portrait subject, A-Z

Agnes Molise portrait in front of light with hand raisedAgnes Molise


Binjun Hu portrait in cemeteryBinjun Hu


Convice Mongwana portrait in field with hands raisedConvice Mongwana


Dumza Maswana portrait standing in riverDumza Maswana


Ela Gandhi portrait standing in front of building smilingEla Gandhi


Graham Clinton Daniels portrait with South African Flag and tentsGraham-Clinton Daniels


Joan Marston portrait tossing a sunflower    Joan Marston


Liam Rothballer portrait with graffitiLiam Rothballer 


Mariloe Booysen portrait on stairs with paperMariloe Booysen


Maswaswe John Sosthenes Ellen Mothopeng portrait holding hands in front lawnMaswaswe John Sosthenes & Ellen Mothopeng


Meshack Mphahlele portrait in uniform in empty fieldMeshack Mphahlele 


Ntando Ngwenya portrait on roof with arms outstretchedNtando Ngwenya


Pauline Gutter portrait on farm Pauline Gutter


Poobathy Cookie Gurappa Naik portrait holding Avon flagPoobathy "Cookie" Gurappa Naik


Shaziya Laher portrait holding chemistry tools in field with plastic wasteShaziyah Laher


Simthembile Xeketwana portrait pouring water in circle of statuesSimthembile Xeketwana


Tariq Suliman Casooje, Simon Zehong Jeebun & Hlomani Khanya Ngqavu portrait drawing in the sandTariq Suliman Casooje, Simon Zehong Jeebun & Hlomani Khanya Ngqavu


Victor Matom portrait with photos on trees and camera equipmentVictor Matom


Zandisile Gunaha portrait holding stick with head raisedZandisile Gunaha


Zuliwe Ntsomi portrait raking leavesZuliwe Ntsomi


Copyright 2019 by Peter Glendinning: all rights in all media reserved, no reproduction without express permission of the photographer.