I travelled to St Helena Island – off the coast of, well, nowhere, in December 2018 for Smithsonian Magazine, to photograph a story on Napoleon. He famously saw out his last years there in exile, banished from his beloved France. While the island, because of its complete remoteness (it gained its first runway and subsequent air service in 2018 allowing a plane from Johannesburg, via Windhoek, to make a weekly – controversial – flight) saw other exiles and famous people (Zulu kings, Anglo Boer war prisoners, Halley of Halley’s Comet fame to name a few) it was the famed French general that put the island on the map.
Happy to announce that I’m one of 25 artists shortlisted for the Contemporary African Prize in Photography for 2019. I’m completely and totally overwhelmed to find myself in such fine company.
See some of the amazing portfolios here
The winners will be announced at Photo Basel in June.
My entry is from my body of work THE LAND THAT BEGINS AGAIN
It’s been said that wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow. I would argue that who you are leads you to certain places…For me this could be said about the Karoo.
The semi-desert folds of the Karoo stretch over five degrees of longitude of South Africa. Swaths of arid, dusty and desolate land that to the naked eye looks like nothing, but with the right tilt of the head is teeming with life and vibrancy. There are a few scattered towns and the country’s main highway that conveniently and quickly escorts people through it without stopping.
Four generations ago though my ancestors stopped and made a life here. They, like I do now, recognize the incredible beauty of this nothingness.
The Land That Begins Again is a love letter, of sorts, to that place of dust and dreams. It’s an exploration of my self, past and present, in a geography that is at once universal and at the same time so uniquely South African it is not possible to separate it’s DNA (or mine) from its physical place on a map or its specific existence in a time in history.
The final presentation of this work includes items – collected from the Karoo – which will be exhibited alongside the images.