/ 12 March 2024

Internationally acclaimed photographer Lebohang Kganye exhibits locally

Elana Brundyn And Lebohang
Elana Brundyn and Lebohang Kganye. File photo

Brundyn Arts & Culture (BA&C) will host an exhibition by contemporary South African photographer Lebohang Kganye at the Boschendal x Brundyn Gallery at Boschendal wine estate near Franschhoek.

The exhibition marks the homecoming for Kganye, whose work has garnered international acclaim over the past decade. 

Kganye brings with her a body of work that reflects her multifaceted exploration of heritage, migration and storytelling.

The exhibition shows Kganye’s artistic prowess through a dual presentation. 

The Sea is History features four pop-up sculptures set against the backdrop of Boschendal’s historic grounds. 

“The works speak to the history of lighthouse keepers, exploring themes of labour, family structures and memory,” said Kganye. “The whole show is speaking to those themes, just in different ways.”

Accompanying the outdoor sculptures is Mmoloki wa Mehopolo: Breaking Bread with a Wanderer, an exhibition in the Manor House, which Kganye describes as a culmination of her practice, incorporating photographic works, dioramas and patchworks that serve as a prelude to the outdoor sculptures. 

“My practice is centred around storytelling and challenging master narratives of history,” she elaborates. 

The exhibition reflects everyday life. “For example, what you see with the story, particularly about my family moving from the farms to the city, is really stories that are about everyday life.  

“The stories that I portray become stories that have been repeated by many people. There are many themes behind those stories — thinking about how life was tough for many black families but also the joy that could not be taken away,” Kganye said. 

Reflecting on the importance of showing Kganye’s work in a non-traditional space, Elana Brundyn, founder of Brundyn Arts & Culture, said visitors would encounter the artwork organically. 

“We wanted people to discover the sculptures as they wander through the farm”, says Brundyn. “It’s about providing tools for understanding and appreciating the work in a unique setting.”

She highlights the significance of bringing Kganye’s work back to South Africa, where it has been less frequently seen compared with its international reception. “It’s important for people to see how brilliant her work is and to appreciate its relevance within our cultural landscape.”

Kganye says she is happy that South Africans will have a better understanding of her practice and expand the idea of photography. 

“There are many possibilities with the medium of photography. There lies a chance to open it up from it just being a factual medium [to] being a space of fantasy and the imaginary.” 

The sculptures will remain on display until the end of the year, but the solo exhibition runs gives visitors until 28 March see Kganye’s thought-provoking exploration of history, memory and identity.