Two acclaimed South African artists offer a cross-generational dialogue on history, memory, and the power of self-narration
Three decades after the dismantling of apartheid began, South Africa’s so-called “born free” generation has reached adulthood and its artists have used their work to navigate their difficult inheritance. At the same time, the historical distance between their experience and that of an older generation grows. This book brings together two of South Africa’s most acclaimed contemporary artists to reflect upon this moment. In their respective practices, Sue Williamson (b. 1941) and Lebohang Kganye (b. 1990) incorporate oral histories into film, photographs, installations, and textiles to consider how, just as formal statements determine collective histories, so the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities. Exploring the complexities involved in the passing down of memories, their works implicitly and explicitly address racial violence, social injustice, and intergenerational trauma. This richly illustrated catalogue features essays that consider themes of voice, testimony, ancestry, and care, and a dialogue between Kganye and Williamson that explores how art can mobilize the healing powers of conversation.
Distributed for the Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia (March 5–May 21, 2023)
Emma Lewis is assistant curator, international art, at Tate Modern, London.
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