South Africa 2008 -2013
Since its first democratic elections in 1994, South Africa has been on an accelerated drive towards change. Today it remains a challenging juggling act to balance the demands of a relatively new democratic dispensation with the country’s inherited apartheid past. As the nation struggles to redress past disparities and injustices, forward movement is hampered by a new set of demons that include corruption, crime and a lack of service delivery.
As the political, economic and social landscapes shift, so too does the shape of the physical landscape. The impacts of true change are seldom incisive, or holistic, but rather emerge bit by bit. For example, discarded structures that have lost their original purpose or relevance often continue to exist on and within newly transformed landscapes. They remain – sometimes as isolated monuments to bygone eras, and sometimes take on a new purpose. On the other hand, new constructions emerge in old spaces, standing as solitary signposts to what the future holds.
It is these ‘outliers’ that I have focused on in this body of work. For me, often, they seem to symbolize the tenuous position in which the country now stands – they become a wider commentary on the intertwined relationship between past, present and an uncertain future. I have approached these structures as if they were monuments, giving them stature and at the same time trying to capture both their isolation from their current context, and their inextricable link to it.
The uneasy mix of structural elements on the shifting South African landscape creates a melange of perceived opposites; the present and the past, wealth and poverty, black and white, power and helplessness.
The images are being made while travelling throughout South Africa.