Laying of hands, Johannesburg-Soweto Line, 1986

by

Santu Mofokeng

Santu Mofokeng. Laying of hands, Johannesburg-Soweto Line. 1986

“Train Church” series. Black and white photograph. 38 x 58 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

© Santu Mofokeng © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Santu Mofokeng. "Train Church" series. 1986

Black and white photographs. 38 x 58 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

© Santu Mofokeng © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Santu Mofokeng. "Train Church" series. 1986

Black and white photographs. 38 x 58 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

© Santu Mofokeng © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Mofokeng’s series are intended to be presented in book or other printed formats. Completed over the course of a month in 1986, "Train Church" was his first publication and became legendary.

The subject is the train that connects the township of Soweto with Johannesburg, a tiring and dangerous journey which black communities, kept far from their places of work, were subjected to under the laws of apartheid. Mornings and evenings, this journey became a moment of collective grace. Sermons and gospels united residents from different neighborhoods to the sounds of hands slapping walls and feet stomping floors. The photographer co-exists with his subjects in the train car, and the constricted space entails the use of a wide-angle lens and full, saturated composition. Rendered in raw black and white, Mofokeng’s images convey intense spiritual feeling.

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