Lebohang Kganye at the Georgian House Museum

Lebohang Kganye, a South African artist, has been commissioned to display new work at the Georgian House Museum as part of Bristol Photo Festival.

Helen’s father grazing his goats (2018) – Inspired by Maverick by Lauren Beukes and Nechama Brodie

Lebohang Kganye’s multidisciplinary approach incorporates performance, sculpture, installation and film, in addition to photography. Her past work explored her personal history, whilst resonating with the broader history of South Africa; making use of archives to merge illusive characters with “real” people in a new universe. 

Never light a candle carelessly (2018) – Inspired by Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard

For this commission, Kganye will draw upon the museum’s history and archive, creating an animation which will weave the complex narratives of the 18th Century sugar plantation and the slave-owners home, the story of its inhabitants and the larger story of Georgian Bristol.

The animation will explore Bristol’s racialized history and narrative of forced resettlement of the black population through the slave trade, by delving into the politics and power of naming – intertwined with identity and storytelling. The work will use a combination of sources from the oral histories of recorded names, to genealogies from the museum’s archives and reimagined family biographies. Kganye will recite the names of slaves who entered Bristol as an act of reverence, using the performance as a method to rework generational trauma, by providing a passage between the dead and the living. The names of those who passed through the house both survive and represent them – and although they cannot be seen, their names can be spoken.

You couldn’t stop the train in time (2018) – Inspired by The train driver by Athol Fugard

More about the artist’s formal background:

Kganye received her introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop, in Johannesburg, in 2009, and completed the Advanced Photography Programme in 2011. Currently, she is doing a Master’s in Fine Arts at Witwatersrand University. 

Kganye is the recipient of numerous awards including:

  • Jury Prize at the Bamako Encounters Biennale of African Photography (2015)
  • Rise Art Prize Global Artist of the Year in (2018)
  • Tokyo International Photography Prize (2019)

Her work has been included in major exhibitions such as:

Recent Histories, an Arthur Walter collection travelling exhibition (2016 – Ongoing)
Give me Yesterday, The Prada Foundation, Milan (2017)
Africa is No Island, MACAAL, Marrakesh (2018)
Tell Freedom, Kunsthal KadE, Amersfoort (2018)
 Not the Usual Suspects, Iziko National Gallery Cape Town (2019)
Alpha Crucis – Contemporary African Art, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2020)

About The Gerogian House Museum:

Built in 1790 for John Pinney, a wealthy slave plantation owner and sugar merchant,  The Georgian House Museum is six-storey townhouse restored and decorated to its original glory.

It is especially significant to Bristol’s history as it is where the enslaved African, Pero Jone, Pinney’s personal server, lived. Pero Jone was bought at the age of 12 and served for 32 years. The footbridge across Bristol’s floating harbour was named after him.