Continuing my exploration of the small scale exhibitions of the MoMA’s huge collection, I stumbled upon the “Ernest Cole’s House of Bondage” gallery, showing recently acquired photographs from his “House of Bondage” series, first published in 1967, and other material from various artists who took on the subject of apartheid in South Africa, in the footsteps of Cole. Ernest Cole was brave. He used his camera to show the world what life was really like for people who were treated unfairly because of their skin color. The pictures he took were not easy to take, but they told important stories about people who kept their dignity and strength even in very hard times. The exhibit did not just show Cole’s photos. The gallery pays homage to the legacy he left behind by also showing work from other artists who were inspired by him and shared their own stories about apartheid. Together, these artworks help us understand the past and how people stood up against injustice. In this special place, I felt like I was stepping into history and seeing how powerful art and photos can be. They remind us that even in very tough times, people can use their creativity to make a difference and help others understand what is happening in the world. This exhibit is a tribute to the strength of the human spirit in the face of difficult challenges.

Untitled, ca. 1970 ©Ernest Cole
Untitled, ca. 1970 ©Ernest Cole
Untitled, ca. 1970 ©Ernest Cole
Untitled, ca. 1970 ©Ernest Cole
Ndebele Broom Seller, Soweto, South Africa, 1972 ©David Goldblatt
Gang on Surface Work, Rustenburg Platinum Mine, South Africa, 1971 ©David Goldblatt
Mine Dancers, Alexandra Township, South Africa, 1977 ©Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe
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