Edward West - Bo Kap (Muslim Quarter, Cape Town)
American, b.1949
Bo Kap (Muslim Quarter, Cape Town), 2001
Giclee print on lysonic paper, 28 x 42 inches
Edition 13/50

Purchased by the William Davidson Institute

West grew up in the Astoria- Hollis, Queens communities of New York. Being a biracial child in New York, photography became a means to navigate the harsh realities and isolation he often felt. Because of this, shadows have become a main theme in his work. Also, while West was earning his BFA from Lake Forest College, he was inspired by Dutch paintings of people and everyday life. His photographs reflect just that, people and their environment. He has traveled all over the world, interacting with people and photographing them.

Ed West is a photographer who currently teaches at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. This photograph, first seen in a major exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in 2001, resulted from a project initiated in 1997. He wished to engage the complexities of race and identity in contemporary South Africa, and to draw attention to the inequities of class, race and power. Utilizing photography to produce large-scale Giclee exhibition prints, West developed a rich visual language upon what the artist saw as a "shadow metaphor." In the photographs, the viewer is struck not only by the poetic color and poverty of the rural projects, but also by the contrast of figures in bright light and dark. The concept of seeing Black humanity as perceived through shadows, veils, and layers of invisibility gives great social resonance to this body of work.