Drawing on cultural sources including literature, history, art and the Bible, Whitton is known for conceptually engaging work that is essentially concerned with the ways in which we recognize, recall and navigate the world around us. He graduated with distinction from the Natal Technikon School of Art in 1994 and subsequently furthered his studies at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. He is the recipient of a number of awards including a Volkskas Atelier Merit Award (1994), the Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship Award (1994) and a PUMA Grant (2009).
In 2009 he was selected to represent South Africa at the 8th African Photography Biennale. This touring exhibition, entitled Borders, featuring photography and video from more than 50 artists from the African continent premiered at the National Museum of Mali in Bamako. Antawan Byrd, Curatorial Assistant at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos in his review of this pan-African exhibition highlighted Whitton’s work as showing “real critical and conceptual engagement” and arts writer Mary Corrigall described the work as a series of “astute statements ... about the relationship between language and imagery that challenge our expectations of photography.”
Whitton’s recent project Glimpse is primarily a series a photographic ‘portraits’ of objects and landscapes from a personal collection gathered and carried over an extended period. These images function as commemorative markers and explore the notion of the photograph as memorial. The evidence of a life; this collection of photographs chronicles aspects of love and loss, memory and geography and is essentially a meditation on transience and the passage of time.
The artist’s work has been featured in various survey exhibitions at venues including, amongst others the including the Carrera du Temple, Paris (2017-2018); University of Johannesburg (2017); Pratt Institute, New York (2016); Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome (2015); Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice (2015); The Center for Book Arts, New York (2014); Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (2011); IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2010); FotoMuseum, Antwerp (2010); Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg (2010); National Museum of Mali, Bamako (2009); University of Pretoria (2009); National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (2002); Gasworks, London (1998); Africa’s Institute for Contemporary Art, Johannesburg (1997) and the Durban Art Museum (1994).
Whitton’s work is represented in various corporate and public collections including the Durban Art Museum; University of South Africa; South African Centre for Photography; Ellerman House; Jack Ginsberg Collection; National Museum of Mali and the Luciano Benetton Collection in Venice, Italy.