Ms Lebohang Kganye, a Fine Arts graduate from the Department of Visual Art within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) was recently announced as the winner of the 2017 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition. Kganye won the coveted award for her animated film ‘Ke sale teng’, which means ‘I’m still here’ in Sesotho. The film confronts how family photo albums no longer have a fixed narrative but instead open us to reinterpret our past and even interrogates our need to preserve a certain narrative.
“Sometimes we rely on the family photo album as a way to understand what family is meant to be,” said Kganye. “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 to that album.”
Through the use of silhouette cut-outs of family members and other props in a diorama, Ke sale teng’ confronts the conflicting stories, which are told in multiple ways, even by the same person – memory combined with fantasy.
This year’s Sasol New Signatures theme was “be discovered”. The theme sought to challenge artists to come to the fore, and showcase their talent to the country’s art-loving public. “The works of the 2017 Sasol New Signatures winners and finalists has lived up to the history and intention of the competition, and showcases what South African artists are capable of,” said Charlotte Mokoena, Sasol Executive President for Corporate Affairs and Human Resources. “Noteworthy this year has also been the diversity of the submissions received. This demonstrates that Sasol New Signatures is making progress in reaching emerging artists from all walks of life.”
As the winner of Sasol New Signatures, Kganye walks away with a cash prize of R100 000 and the opportunity to have a solo exhibition in 2018 at the Pretoria Art Museum.
Kganye was the recipient of the Tierney Fellowship Award in 2012, leading to her solo exhibition Ke Lefa Laka at the Market Photo Workshop Gallery. She created an animation from the series which was launched on Mandela Day 2014 in Scotland.
She has had several art exhibitions in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Cape Town, Harare, London, Amsterdam, Paris and New York.
Although primarily a photographer, Kganye’s photography often incorporates her interest in sculpture and performance of the archive and memory. She confronts her collected and altered photographs; the artist’s and her family’s, as material for both memory and fantasy. She explores fictional history by using archives to merge illusive characters with “real” characters in a new universe.
The Top 100 artworks are on exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum from 31 August until 8 October 2017.
Still from Ke sale teng, Animated film.