Challenging perceptions about albinism through photography | This is Africa


Challenging perceptions about albinism through photography

In his forthcoming exhibition in South Africa, photographer, Justin Dingwall, will be showcasing photos from his body of work, ‘Albus’, a collection that celebrates and challenges perceptions about albinism in Africa.



Justin Dingwall’s photos of albino models

Starting 23 August, South African photographer, Justin Dingwall, will be exhibiting photos from his collection, ‘Albus’, at Barndard Gallery, Cape Town. Photos in the collection celebrate the human form in general, and albinism in particular with the aim of challenging perceptions about the condition.

‘Albus’ features photographs of albino model, Sanele Xaba, and albino lawyer, Thando Hopa.

“Hopa looks childlike and fragile in the photos, posing sometimes as a bright angel, sometimes as a humble Virgin Mary figure, and always exuding in an aura of immaculate feminine grace,” Making Africa said.


Read: DRC’s Fashion Show, “Proudly Albino”

Photo by Justin Dingwall. Photo: Dilara/Flickr

Perceptions of albinism in Africa

Albinism is a condition brought about by the lack of melanin responsible for the coloration of skin and hair. In many parts of Africa, albinos are discriminated against by their communities and families, even. In some East African countries, they are hunted and their dismembered body parts are sold for ritual purposes, believing that they possess supernatural powers.

The exhibition gives albinos the added visibility needed to foster understanding of and combat myths and prejudices about the condition.

“Dingwall’s pictures allow the viewers to rethink their own attitudes towards beauty; the photographer advocates that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours,” Making Africa added.

Read: Omo The White Giraffe, Tanzania


Justin Dingwall is a South African commercial photographer and contemporary artist driven by a passion to explore less travelled paths and create works that people can relate to.

Photographs from the ‘Albus’ collection have been shown in 2015 at the Joburg Art Fair and in 2016 at North West University, both in South Africa. The forthcoming exhibition, again in South Africa, is hosted by Barnard Gallery in collaboration with Lizamore & Associates. The exhibition will open on 23 August and close on 20 September 2016.

Read: Nigerian woman gives birth to ‘white’ baby


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