AFRONOVA GALLERY artists Alice Mann and Lebohang Kganye are part of a duo exhibition entitled: Portraits in Dialogue: South African Contemporary Photography, at Boxes Art Museum, Foshan (China).
Curated by Lee Ambrozy, the exhibition seeks to create a dialogue between both artists and observe how these works meditate on personal vs. collective experiences, identities and race and contemporary vs. historical portraiture.
Alice Mann’s portraiture documents collectives and shared aspirations through the strength of individuals. Her practice reflects the craft of traditional documentary photographer. Using negative film and medium format cameras, tripods and lights, she negotiates her presence and intent with her “subjects”.
The mutual trust between Mann and the people before her lens defines her collaborative approach to portraiture. Their gazes, presence, and willingness to confront the world via her portraiture also speaks to issues of power structures in the narrative and representational field.
Lebohang Kganye’s approach to photography is rooted in materiality. She expands images into three-dimensional space and presents photographs as documents that retell old narratives. She uses them to reclaim histories and confront the past with the latent hope of reframing the future. Kganye revisits a storytellers’ tradition, using visual narratives and drawing on family relationships that also reflect collective experience. Deeply personal, the Sesotho language, preserved in the titles, informs her work and demonstrates how language shapes how we read the world, although translation can sometimes hinder true dialogue. In Ke Lefe Laka / Her Story, Kganye’s mother’s snapshots inspire memories and a constellation of activities. The intimate portraits, overlaid with self-portraiture, document family histories and evidences the Apartheid era. The “ghosts” she creates link her to the past and alter her relationship to history. These overlapped images attempt to collapse/fold time, to make a single moment span decades.
Portraits in Dialogue: South African Contemporary Photography
9 April – 20 May 2021
OCT Boxes Art Museum
Shunfeng Mountain Park