The history and legacy of photography (particularly in Africa) is a violent one, one that is slowly being acknowledged and confronted. In the practice of creating static images that lock time into a set of parameters, there must be particular moments that ask an artist to confront the question of what landed them in that position and what that position means?
What are the power dynamics intrinsic to the play of holding that particular machinery in their hands? What does this position mean in terms of their relationship to what or who or how they photograph?
In a genre that is often saturated by singular narratives or sensationalized truths for selling new stories, Marked is a possible angle to reframe and consider the genre of photography and its practice within the world of print. This exhibition, through the mechanics of a group show aims to offer a platform for different perspectives, answering the question of looking in many ways.
Zara Julius (b. Johannesburg) is a South African storyteller based in Johannesburg, with a background in social anthropology and photography. Zara graduated with a first class Hons. Degree in social anthropology from the University of Cape Town in 2014. Her interest in the intersections of photography and storytelling was furthered by attending several documentary film and photography workshops, most noteably at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV, Cuba in 2015. Her primary focus has been the urban metropolis and the various forms of syncretic religions that have emerged in contexts of urban migration in South Africa. Driven by a desire to create visual media, she is interested in the intersection of aesthetics and culture: the visual elements of personalised cultural narratives, and the ways culture is embodied, performed and perceived. Her work is concerned with post-coloniality, African futures, and the varying paradoxes that emerge with the interplay of identity, faith, urbanity, migration, race and culture in Africa and the African Diaspora.
Recently, Zara has adopted a ‘practice as research’ approach, where her role as an artist is to fascilitate and curate narratives where various participants create their own stories. Concerned with the ethics of representation, Zara’s use of mixed media and co-productive methods help to ensure that her work is triangulated and necessarily nuanced. Zara has been an invited speaker at the David Krut Projects Bookstore in Johannesburg in 2015. She also presented a paper on mixed race identity amongst the ‘born free’ generation at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conferance at the University of Southern California in February 2017. Zara has exhibited across South Africa, in group shows in galleries in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.
Christopher James Chandler
Born in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape in 1992, Christopher James Chandler is an artist and photographer based in Cape Town. He aims to investigate the photographic medium while dealing with narrative, self and masculinity within the context of South Africa. Having recently completed his BAFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Christopher James has featured on numerous group shows around Cape Town and the rest of the country.
Valplatte, 2016. Video. Duration 3:19
Two shots are fired through a brass plate using the standard issue rifle of the South African Defense Force. The target replaces the body and in this case the target acts as a mirror, investigating the fragility of masculinity.
The video touches on the history of military conscription in South Africa while highlighting the violence inherent within society at large.
Adam Rabinowitz is a South African photographer, born in George and living in Cape Town. Having travelled extensively around the continent and across Asia, Adam finds inspiration in the beauty of travel, exploration and experience. With dreams to continue travelling, the skill and excitement of photography ensures endless possibility for creation and experimenting.
“They say first impressions matter. When it comes to architecture our doorways are the first impression. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live or what your religion is, how we decorate our doors is how we welcome those into our sacred spaces. From fire and brimstone, oozing lava into blackened igneous, beautifully carved into towering facades with detailed, golden doors at their heart. The kori agung weren’t made for people. Bali’s temples have other entrances for them. These doors are reserved for the Gods.
The red doors are more far flung and varied. The Forbidden Purple City along the banks of the twisting Perfume River is a shadow of its former glory. Once the centre of the thriving Ngyguen dynasty, the only servants who could pass through these doors were eunuchs who would not pose a threat to the Emperor’s concubines. Inspired by love, no expense was denied when building the magnificent Taj Mahal. Red sandstone inlaid with white marble ensures that like their enduring love the colours have not fade over time. At the centre are no ancient halls, palaces or temples, these are the doorways that welcome friends and family into homes in the village of Jodhpur. Behind these blue walls lies a bustle of activity that will form tomorrows stories.”
Born 3rd February 1994, Sinead Marielle Maharaj grew up in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal, and matriculated at Maris Stella in 2012. Always in two minds about what to pursue further studies in whether it was Biology and Environmental sciences, Marine Biology or Fine Art. A decision to take a leap into the Art world, where Sinead graduated with Honours, majoring in Photography, at Michealis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. At present Sinead is working towards a Honours in Social Anthropology, at the University of Cape Town, simultaneously working on other photographic, writing, sculptural and designing projects.
“The work embraces all these aspects of interest, from environmental sciences to alternative darkroom photography process, to Anthropological notions and sculptural influences. An exhibition entitled ‘Tillage’. Built around the Anthropological notion, by Bernard Fonlon, ‘The Tillage of man: Cultivating man to certain norms, as he too is tilled by the maintenance cultivated by other men’. It enters my visual explorations of how we navigate our thoughts through this cultivated world that seems so mapped out. An investigation into light, light and its influences on natural biological systems and on plant matter. How plants through light grow certain ways, and how this same light has influenced the medium of photography. Questions around whether this following of the light in our growth is aligned to the systematic grid formation of society or if we follow our own path through the presence and absence of light. “ 2016/17
‘And at the same time everything is being done to make us all look exactly the same – so that we shall only need one self portrait’ – Susan Sonatag. 1972.
Kyū Sang Lee
Kyū Sang Lee’s photographic artistic practice draws on his experience within distinct regions and cultures of the world. Born in Seoul, Korea in 1993 and having moved to Cape Town in 2005, his artistic practice exhibits strong influences of Eastern, Western and African cultures. Kyū Sang, working in predominantly black and white photography, presents an interesting juxtaposition to ideas of the “lost”.
Photography in South Africa indeed has been a violent one. People use images to influence amd imvade others minds. Posters and news, as images are Works in a similar way. Just like a heavy rain, one lives in a world with overflow of of information where one cannot identify each news. The more information flows, the more one forgets about oneself and eventually one’s life become dominated by oblivion. Oblivion leads away from self realisation. And constant novelty of news, images and media creates oblivion. We live im the distracted and oversaturated world of media.
Photography, media and most of all images work as weapon. In Jericho (2016) i have collected (or ‘scavenged’) news posters that inhabits in the city. And I transported them to the Tankwa Karoo, where it is not distracted by any artificial symbols or visual signs. To the barren of images. By making an installation and burning them, the content of information is properly appreciated and departed. Fire symbolizes destruction and regeneration.
It is unavoidable to live in this world where there is overflow of information. Therefore being aware of the fact that there are worthless images, and to know how to be collective regarding media and information is crucial for good life and self realisation
Elske Koelstra, 1964, is Dutch and was nominated best young photographer in The Netherlands in both 1995 and 1996. Since her earliest years she has always been interested in nature as well as in photography. She moved to Paris in 1996, from where she traveled the world for her former job as a biscuit maker. She had several international shows in musea, galleries and at Orly airport.
Nowadays she lives and works in the Provence in the south of France.
The base for these photos was photographed in Delhi, India, back in 1998. They are part of a larger body of work that was started during Elske’s extensive travels around the world, worked on in different manners between 1998-1999 and then later 2002, 2013-2015. The photographs are the result of an extensively revisited collection of images that muse on the sites and views that a traveller witnesses. People often are intrigued by the reflection in the photo. It gives an extra dimension to the photo during the day, when the light changes in a room.
A self described adventure seeker with a taste for beauty and good pictures, Armand Hough has been working in the photographic industry for several years. Armand spent seven years in Persia where he developed his distinctive style and approach to working with light and documentary work. In 2012 he was awarded a MA degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of the Arts in London and he is currently working with The Independent Newspapers group in Cape Town.
Sitaara Ren Stodel has a degree in fine art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. She majored in photography but also makes videos as part of her art practice. Sitaara enjoys the traditional method of taking pictures on film and processing them in the darkroom herself, and works with collage, both digitally and physically.
Sitaara is a Tierney Fellow, having one the prize in 2016. She has exhibited on a range of group shows around Cape Town.
She is interested in issues around gender, identity, the home and space. Her experiences and memories influence her art considerably, and enjoys playing with this by re-imagining and re-creating the past through her art.