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Saturday, October 24, 2015


(Matt Kay – “Oasis Beach” from the series The Front, Durban 2014)

The KZNSA will host 2014 Tierney Fellow Matt Kay and his thought-provoking body of work, The Front, which opens in the Main Gallery on October 28.

The aim of the Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop, in partnership with the Tierney Family Foundation, is to award an emerging photographer the opportunity to develop their career and skills through this mentorship programme, an ideal space for a photographer to develop a body of work. The Front investigates the Durban beachfront as an ever-changing space and the people that frequent it.

Kay was born in 1985 and completed the Intermediate Course and Advanced Photography Programme at the Market Photo Workshop. He has received numerous awards and mentions that include Winner of the 2011 CIT:Y award for photography, Finalist for the International Salzburg Summer Academy of Fine Arts (ISBK) residency, Finalist for the GUP/Viewbook International Small Stories Competition, Recipient of the Ithuba Arts Fund and Nominee for the 2014 Hel –Ved new Talent Award. He recently showcased his work Losing Ground during the inaugural Joburg Photo Umbrella.

Matt Kay was mentored by Market Photo Workshop founder and renowned South African photographer David Goldblatt.

The promenade on Durban beachfront was constructed in anticipation of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Approximately 6.2 km long, it stretches from uShaka Marine World until Blue Lagoon in the North. Durban’s beaches have undergone a rapid transformation in the past 20 years. Holidaymakers, locals, fisherman, surfers, runners and religious groups share the area. The promenade seems to have evolved into a truly shared space within South Africa. However, the nature of the beachfront shifts constantly, as the day progresses the flow of people constantly changes, and the function of the beach transforms.

The Front is an investigation, a revealing, of space. It documents the people who use the beachfront. It seeks to record the rapidly changing nature of the promenade by placing a marker as to what the space is now at this point in time. The Front confronts diversity, identity, and multi-functionality of shared public space. Matt Kay says: “this body of work was about looking harder at a space I thought I knew and understood. The harder I looked the more I realized that I understood very little about a place that clearly was significant to so many people in so many different ways. The beach has a strangeness to it that is constantly visible but only when looked for. This project finds relevance in that it is often the quiet and disconnected moments we see that stay with us and challenge our perspectives.” 

For Kay, photography is about searching for a way for him to make sense of the world and then express what is important to others. His process very much revolves around photographing instinctively and then really discovering the narrative through the editing process.

Describing the Tierney Fellowship experience, he says: “As a photographer who normally works very much alone it was a big challenge to open up and allow others into the process of making this body of work. At times it made me feel vulnerable and at others great to know that there is real knowledge and experience guiding you in the right direction. The whole experience is very grounding and although sometimes confusing I feel it is a crucial part of moving forward in my career.”

The Front runs in the Main Gallery at the KZNSA from October 28 to November 15, 2015. The KZNSA Gallery is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, in Durban. More information on 031 277 1705, fax 031 201 8051 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit