Lebohang Kganye: Dipina tsa Kganya – Leave the light when you leave for good
4 April—31 December 2022
The Georgian House Museum
More information here
We’re excited to announce that Dipina tsa Kganya: Leave the light when you leave for good by Lebohang Kganye—a collaboration with The Georgian House Museum as part of the inaugural Bristol Photo Festival, will be going on display from Monday, April 4 2022.
The Georgian House was once home to a sugar trader and his enslaved staff, and Lebohang’s new work invites us to reflect on the legacy of colonialism as a shared history. The work, a black and white three-channel video installation offers a response to the violence of historical erasure of names and oral traditions.
The central component is the lighthouse featured in the middle channel of the video work. A light beam, in perpetual motion, casts light onto the surrounding ocean scene and in turn creates shadows in the two peripheral channels of the work.
In the first video, a lighthouse keeper appears as a custodian of this light, tending to it by continually cleaning the bulb – a light source that symbolically guides those lost at sea. The song featured in the work (composed by musician Thandi Ntuli) plays from a large, custom-built Polyphon music box, which is hand cranked in the third video.
These performative gestures are in conversation with the southern African practice of the ‘praise-singing’ of clan names as a way of passing down the origins of the family story as an act of resistance to historical erasure.
“The word dipina means ‘songs’ in my mother language of seSotho. The song referred to is that of my family clan names, traditionally passed down through oral tradition. Additionally, the Sotho word for ‘light’: kganya – is in the etymology of my last name: Kganye.”Lebohang Kganye
Lebohang Kganye was born in 1990 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she currently lives and works. Kganye received her introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop, in Johannesburg, in 2009 and completed the Advanced Photography Programme in 2011. She obtained a Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg in 2014 and is currently doing her Masters in Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand University. Notable awards include the Grand Prix Images Vevey 2021/22, Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize, 2020, Camera Austria Award, 2019 and the finalist of the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative, 2019.
Kganye is participating in major museum group exhibitions in 2021, Family Affairs. Family in Current Photography at the House of Photography in Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany and The Power of My Hands, at Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, France. She has exhibited her work extensively within curated group exhibitions and biennales including: Afterglow, Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan, in 2020; Africa State of Mind, a travelling exhibition presented at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, UK, in 2019–2020, the Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, USA, in 2019 and the Impressions Gallery, Bradford, UK, in 2018; The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada, in 2019; Recent Histories, a touring exhibition of Contemporary African Photography and Video Art from Arthur Walther Collection, presented at Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, in 2018–2019; Tell freedom, by all means necessary, at Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, Netherlands, in 2018; Give me Yesterday, Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy, in 2016 and Telling Time, at the Bamako Encounters Biennale of African Photography, Bamako, Mali, in 2015.
In 2021, a solo exhibition of Kganye’s newly commissioned works will be presented by the Georgian House Museum in Bristol, UK. Earlier solo exhibitions include The Stories We Tell: Memory as Material, at George Bizos Gallery at the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa in 2020; Ke Lefa Laka: Her-story, ata ppr oc he inLe Molière, Paris, France in 2019; Mohlokomedi wa Tora at the Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa in 2018, Ke Lefa Laka: Her-story, at Festival Africolor at Université Paris 13, in Bobigny and Villetaneuse, Paris, France, both in 2016 and Ke Lefa Laka at Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa in 2013.