Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Photograph - Pieter and Maryna Vermeulen with Timana Phosiwa

Pieter and Maryna Vermeulen with Timana Phosiwa

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    South Africa (photographed)

  • Date:

    2006 (photographed)
    2010 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hugo, Pieter, born 1976 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    C-print photograph

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Pieter Hugo (born Johannesburg, 1976), a self-taught photographer and filmmaker, is often drawn to uncomfortable subjects whose distinctive features, clothing and settings all reveal details about their social situation. In this work, a startling portrait of a new South African family, Hugo captures a white couple, the man gripping a prosthetic leg, the woman proud but poor, sitting on a discarded car seat with a black infant tenderly held on her lap. The sitters pose self consciously for the camera, their lives laid bare for perusal. The picture comes from the series Messina/Musina consisting mainly of portraits of black and white families and individuals. The people in his portraits allude to a complex web of social, economic and political relations in an isolated community. Hugo aims for complexity rather than clichés about Africa, which often makes people feel uncomfortable. As Hugo puts it, 'I don't think art has a responsibility to be pretty.'

Physical description

C-print photograph of a bare-footed white women and a white bare-chested man with prothetic leg seated on a discarded car seat. The women is holding a small black child on her lap.

Place of Origin

South Africa (photographed)


2006 (photographed)
2010 (printed)


Hugo, Pieter, born 1976 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

C-print photograph


Height: 202.5 cm Paper, Width: 168.5 cm Paper, Height: 170 cm Image, Width: 136 cm Image

Object history note

Included in exhibition 'Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography' at the V&A, 12 April - 17 July 2011.

Descriptive line

C-print photograph, 'Pieter and Maryna Vermeulen with Timana Phosiwa', from the series 'Messina/Musina', by Pieter Hugo, South Africa, 2006

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

image appears on page 10 and 56
Germany: Steidl, 2011
Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography




Photographs; Disability

Production Type

Limited edition


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.