Ernest Cole | A Lens in Exile

13 June 2024 – 12 October 2024

Ernest Cole

A Lens In Exile

London

Offering a rare and reflective insight into the seminal South African photographer Ernest Cole, A Lens in Exile is the first exhibition of his photographs documenting New York City during the height of the civil rights movement in America. Best known for his radical images documenting the violence of apartheid, Cole fled South Africa in 1966 and was officially made stateless in 1968. In a televised interview in 1969 he expressed a hope of being liberated from the day-to-day experience of racism. Focused on the humanity of everyday life, Cole spent his first years in New York City photographing Harlem and Manhattan, focusing his lens on the experience of living in a racialised America. Framed against the struggle for civil rights, Cole captured moments of emergent black awakenings, unfolding within public and private spaces by the forces of Black Pride and Black Power. These remarkably intuitive photographs – documenting protest, politics and daily existence – were forged through a transgressive challenge to the status quo of American society.
Artist Profile
Ernest Cole
Offering a rare and reflective insight into the seminal South African photographer Ernest Cole, A Lens in Exile is the first exhibition of his photographs documenting New York City during the height of the civil rights movement in America. Best known for his radical images documenting the violence of apartheid, Cole fled South Africa in 1966 and was officially made stateless in 1968. In a televised interview in 1969 he expressed a hope of being liberated from the day-to-day experience of racism. Focused on the humanity of everyday life, Cole spent his first years in New York City photographing Harlem and Manhattan, focusing his lens on the experience of living in a racialised America. Framed against the struggle for civil rights, Cole captured moments of emergent black awakenings, unfolding within public and private spaces by the forces of Black Pride and Black Power. These remarkably intuitive photographs – documenting protest, politics and daily existence – were forged through a transgressive challenge to the status quo of American society.