The work of photographer and visual artist Lebohang Kganye, along with fellow South African artist Sue Williamson, is highlighted in the new exhibition, Tell Me What You Remember. Offering a cross-racial and generational dialogue on history, memory and the power of self-narration in the context of apartheid and its legacies, the dual installation is presented by the Barnes Foundation in its Roberts Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, through May 21, 2023.
Kganye, who was born and resides in Johannesburg, South Africa, utilizes the materiality of photography to explore themes of personal history and ancestry, which is furthered expressed through her use of sculptural, performative, theatrical and moving images. Her work often features her family archive to explore and revisit notions of home and belonging. The 32-year-old artist, whose mother died at age 49, turned to her grandmother and aunts to help trace her maternal ancestral roots. She then employed archival photographs, performance and installation to reveal her histories of displacement and dispossession.
Featuring 15 bodies of work spanning 1981 to 2023 that represent the full breadth of both artists’ practices, the exhibition features Kganye's video installation Dipina tsa Kganya (2021) and her new photography series In Search for Memory (2020 and 2022) and more.
“Losing a parent makes loss not just a concept, but something you cannot quite articulate without the experience of it," Kganye tells EBONY. "My grandmother began talking to me about our family history and sharing stories that had been passed on to her and her own memories. I began to think about how much we do not think about conversations we would love to have with our elders until the possibility of loss becomes real. The narrative of my work about family has been an extension of these conversations with my grandmother and has extended to other elders of the family such as my aunts and uncles.”