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Foreign Nationals - 18 October 2018 - 18 January 2019
In this exhibition, South African photographer and theatre practitioner, Aldo Brincat, celebrates a unique subculture from Botswana, known colloquially as the MaRock.
Brincat first encountered members of the MaRock when he relocated from South Africa, to Gaborone, in 2006. He began collaborating with them in 2012, by documenting their remarkable lifestyle, counter-culture philosophy and deep sense of brotherhood.
Foreign Nationals sets the MaRock firmly in the Kgalagadi Desert. Corrupted rural settings, and industrial waste sites underscore feelings of alienation that the MaRock reflect back to Setswana traditional tribal culture, and indeed, to themselves. Translated into austere black and white images, Brincat further emphasizes the idea of foreign versus familiar, in both the sitter and the viewer.
The MaRock forge their identity, primarily on oral history, self-imposed aesthetics, and collective, ridged, patriarchal expression. The core of MaRock being a fusion of heavy metal culture, their own economic status, (or lack thereof), as cattle herders, cemented into place by the inclusion of Country & Western culture, (specifically Dolly Parton).
It is estimated that there are well over 2000 MaRock across the country, as this movement continues to grow exponentially.
Along with well-respected members of the community of Gaborone, an informal Trust was established along with selected members from the 17 MaRock featured in Foreign Nationals, in order that these men should benefit from the financial and social gains made by Brincat’s exhibition. To date, the Trust has managed to purchase passports for each member, with the eventual aim that the MaRock may accompany future exhibitions across the world. The current focus is to raise funds for industrial sewing machines, which will further develop skills in leather craft and garment construction, thereby increasing their income potential.