Giggs Kgole: Coming of Age
Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, presents Coming of Age, a solo exhibition of photographs by South African artist, Giggs Kgole. This series is an exploration of the simple yet complex lives of people living in the villages and townships of South Africa; through the lens of a child’s bathtub. The bathtub is a site where children listen to their parents tell stories and fondly recall cherished memories. It is where they learn life-lessons and where their worldview is shaped. It is, in many ways, a vehicle into adulthood; a vehicle that is never truly parked away, but remains an influential aspect on the ways in which they see the world.
Through this lens, one meets the many joys of life; the telling of stories, the playing of simple games, the connection with the rivers and the land. The series explores the complex relations between culture, history, pride and identity through the telling of stories that are grounded in a specific context yet are intimate and relatable nonetheless. Even if the setting is completely foreign to the viewer, one is afforded a glimpse into different yet ever familiar lives.
One learns of love, hope and death; confronted by the injustices of wealth and the many dimensions of migration. One feels the frustration of people; jaded by the indifference of politicians and the rage of people who have been continuously dispossessed for centuries. One rejoices in their triumph and sympathises with their pain. One sits on their shoulders as they navigate the intricacies of life.
Essentially, this series is an unapologetic portrait of the chaotic, inspiring and complex lives of people who are often portrayed as simplistic caricatures. It portrays a community as neither wholly perfect nor wholly imperfect; but as positively, palpably, unapologetically human.
The exhibition runs till August 12, 2017.
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