After the death of her mother, the South African artist Lebohang Kganye tried to maintain the bond with her by going through her personal effects, among which she found photographs and clothes she had not seen until then. In her images, her mother is a beautiful, determined, fashionable, smiling woman.
Taking the text by Roland Barthes from his book Camera Lucida as a reference, in which he narrates the spectral presence of his mother when looking through photographs of her after her death, the idea of the ghost began to emerge in Kganye’s work. In her case, however, she did not just analyze the images, but also revisited the places where they were taken; she put on the shoes and dresses that her mother had worn and imitated her postures. She then overlaid the photographs of her mother with her poses in double exposures to connect their experiences and keep her presence alive.
Kganye’s photomontages explore the limits of the image as a tool for memory, at the same time as forging a bond between mother and daughter through an imaginary visual conversation.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1990, Lebohang is a visual artist who incorporates sculpture, performance, installation and film into her creative practice. She began her Photography studies at Market Photo Workshop in Johnnesburg in 2009, which she furthered in 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg in 2014 and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at Witwatersrand University. She has won several awards, among others, the Grand Prix Images Vevey (2021/22), Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize (2020), Camera Austria Award (2019) and she was a finalist for the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative (2019). Currently, Lebohang participates in group exhibitions such as Family Affairs. Family in Current Photography at the House of Photography in Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, and in The Power of my Hands at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris. Previously, she has exhibited her work in several group and solo exhibitions, such as Afterglow at Yokohama Museum of Art (2020), Africa State of Mind, a temporary exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol (2019-2020), and at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco (2019).
Promoted by the Begihandi collective, GETXOPHOTO is a festival dedicated to image that takes place in Getxo (Basque Country) during September for the last 14 years. It brings different proposals from photographers and visual storytellers from all over the world to the city, setting a contemporary conversation about the theme proposed each year.
GETXOPHOTO inhabits the public space and continues supporting the use of formats, stands and unconventional exhibition spaces to show the different images. This is a thematic festival that every three years works together with a different curator who understands the photography as a tool of knowledge, communication, and of course artistic enjoyment. Exhibitions, installations, projections, collaborations, experimental laboratories and many activities complete the program of the Festival.
Jon Uriarte is the curator of GETXOPHOTO 2021.