Twin Lens

Hasan & Husain Essop

The exhibition is a mini-retrospective of photographs by the twin brothers during the period 2007 – 2017. During these years the artists were represented in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Hermanus in Sculpture on the Cliffs 2017. They also took part in international exhibitions in France, Netherlands, Mali, England, Senegal and Cuba. A selection of works from a number of these exhibitions is on view.

The Essops’ work deals with notions of performance, representation, and the role of the individual in society, in particular the space that Muslim youth negotiate in a secular environment. The exhibition includes work inspired by their experiences abroad and the images that depict the twins in various carefully staged locations and poses around Amsterdam, Dakart, Jericho, Mecca and Cape Town.

The thread that ties the images together is their subjects: in Islam, the rendering of the human form is considered haraam or forbidden, and the artists are deliberate about limiting their subjects to themselves.
In the earlier works Hasan and Husain worked in Photoshop to insert themselves as actors within the photographic landscape. Later, they devised different techniques to capture their images, one being panoramic which results in hundreds of images being captured. Having planned the artwork, with themselves ‘cloned’ into a number of characters, they perform multiple roles within the frame. These multiple frames the artists then painstakingly, over a period of weeks or months, manipulate into a single large artwork.

Hasan and Husain Essop received a BA Fine Arts in 2006 and their Postgraduate Diploma in Art in 2007 from the University of Cape Town and the Michaelis School of Fine Art. During 2009 they completed a residency in Cuba – coinciding with the inclusion of their work in the Havana Biennale – and facilitated a workshop on invitation from the University of Hamburg, Germany.

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