Moodley, S. J.


South African, 1922–1987


Singarum "Kitty" Jeevaruthnam Moodley was born into an Indian family in the province now known as KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in 1922. After working as a machinist in a shoe factory, he established his family-run photographic studio in Pietermaritzburg in 1957. A passionate community activist and fervent opponent of apartheid, he ran Kitty’s Studio until his death in 1987. His photographs offer an evocative and refreshing view of apartheid-era South African society, and expand the history of vernacular studio portraiture in Africa. After his death, many of the studio’s negatives were purchased by the Campbell Collections in Durban, now part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Those deemed incompatible with the historical collection were culled from the archive and some 1,400 negatives were ultimately acquired by Columbia University professor Dr. Steven C. Dubin, co-organizer of the exhibition Who I Am: Rediscovered Portraits from Apartheid South Africa (2016).

Artworks by Moodley, S. J.

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