Do we live in separate worlds? Can we accept segregation in our societies?

These questions are central to Welkom Today Studio, taking place in the lobby of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September from 10.00 -12.00.

Guided by photographer Lebohang Tlali, students from South African and Dutch schools will run a photo studio, taking portraits of Stedelijk Museum visitors and asking them to share their views on segregation in society. Through their portrait, visitors will cast a vote for one of three statements that deal with living in separate worlds.

Welkom Today Studio is closely related to the exhibition Welkom Today, on view until October 13 at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The project began when Lebohang Tlali discovered the photobook Welkom in Suid-Afrika (1991) in which Dutch photographer Ad van Denderen and writer Margalith Kleijwegt documented the last days of apartheid. The book completely changed Tlali’s view on his own community – that of the South African mining town of Welkom and the neighbouring township Thabong – and he realised the power of photography as a social tool. Welkom Today Studio follows this theme, using photography as a way to connect Dutch and South African students and explore the universal issue of segregation in our societies.

Welkom and Thabong delegation visits Amsterdam
In 2017, when Ad, Lebohang and Margalith brought van Denderen’s 1990 photos back to Welkom they also gave photography workshops in three secondary schools with diverse backgrounds and student populations: Teto High, Welkom Gimnasium and Goudveld Hoërskool. The students’ work became part of Welkom Today at the Stedelijk Museum as well as a pop-up exhibition at CBK Zuidoost. A delegation of 12 representatives from the three schools, including students, teachers and principals will visit Amsterdam from September 20-26 to meet people and organisations engaged in culture, education, media and social enterprise.

At the Stedelijk Museum and CBK Zuidoost they will discuss the role photography can play in education, as well as the meaning of visual arts to society; who’s values are shown, how are they kept, and how and for whom are they accessible? Tony’s Chocolonely will introduce them to the agenda behind a socially driven enterprise. At the picture desk of NRC Handelsblad they will get an idea of the daily process of media and the role of photography. Where do the images come from and how does a newspaper create stories? At Black Archives, we hope to understand more about the painful blind spots a dominant culture has shaped when it comes to minorities.

The visit of the delegation has been made possible by the generous support of Gemeente Amsterdam, corporate sponsors and private donors from the Netherlands and South Africa including Marlene Dumas, Mulaudzi’s Development Projects, Sparta Beef, Practicon Trading Enterprise, Koakoariri Media, Youth Dialogue, Lele & Tshidi, Sedibeng Water and the Phillips family.

Welkom Today is a collaboration between Stedelijk Museum, CBK Zuidoost and Paradox.

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