Peter Frank Gallery

South Africa gave Peter Frank the opportunity to realize his artistic disposition – in a place, he knows for more than a decade now.

Franks work shows Sangomas – traditional healers in the townships of Cape Town and in the wide plains of KwaZulu Natal. He captures their inspiring, profound attitude in calm pictures, focussing on their strong expression and fundamental energy. Frank visited the Sangomas in their homes or at the sites where they perform their traditional rituals. The pictures combine the private moments with a mystic aura, created through the selective use of lights and a long exposure time.

“When talking to some of the healers, I also learned about the special role Sangomas play in their community. Especially in the townships, traditional healers are a crucial part of society.

Their beliefs in the spiritual world are deeply rooted in African tradition. A strong bond of history and culture ties the healers to the identity of people living in South Africa. However, especially in the cities, modernity is threatening their spiritual way of life. South Africa is developing rapidly, and it is not at all granted there will be space for the Sangomas after the transformation is finished.

They already had to accustom to the new circumstances to stay in touch with their communities: Whilst in the wide plains of KwaZulu Natal the healers still perform their rituals in traditional roundhouses, they have moved to small kitchens or living rooms in their Townships .

The huge influence of the Sangomas on everyday life remains visible, but it is hard to tell what kind of traditions will prevail and what kind will be inevitably lost. This is why I choose to document the Sangomas and her rituals they perform, and the special aura they surround themselves with.“ Exhibitions of the fine art photographs were held in Switzerland, Austria and Cape Town.

Another project was „Little Superheroes“, his first series of pictures taken in South Africa, he played with the ancient human desire to cover oneself behind a mask. In a homage to the comic universe and a reconnection to old african rituals, children from the surroundings of Cape Town brought Spiderman, the Power Rangers and other supernatural fantasy figures to life.

The spontaneously taken pictures depict a blithe symbiosis of landscape, children poises and the very unique expression of the masks themselves.