A mixture of truth and fiction
Lebogang Kganye uses images from her family’s old photograph albums, cutting them up and then re-constructing them in new ways. In this work, she “quotes” the form and the style of the old studio photograph. There may have been many of these in her old family albums – but here she is constructing an imagined one, assembled from parts of several photos.
Why do this? She explains: “Family photographs are more than just a documentation of events that have occurred, but a space for us to project what we can recall – and perhaps a space to question and invent a new history. The work confronts how family photo albums no longer have a fixed story, but instead open us to re-interpret our past. Perhaps this kind of re-interpretation is a way to question our need to preserve a certain story or narrative.
The more I researched my family history, the more it became apparent that family is a mixture of truth and fiction. Sometimes we rely on the family photo album as a way to understand what family is meant to be. What we often land up with is a grouping of images that have been constructed, and perhaps do not account at all for the histories and memories that are connected with that album. Such archives do not reveal easy answers: for me, they reveal that time can break apart and reconnect memories – that then do not quite fit back into one another.”