Lebohang Kganye, from Johannesburg, South Africa, is the 16th winner of the world-famous Foam Paul Huf Award. Earlier this week, a five-member jury selected this year’s winner from among nearly 100 nominees, drawn by 23 nominees from 21 countries. The Foam Paul Huf Award is given annually to emerging talent. Foam wants to use the award to motivate photographers in their artistic development.
Through her work, Kganye delves into themes of her history and origin, which resonate at the same time with South African history and apartheid. The jury report stated: “Libohang Kganye’s work reflects personal stories, memories, family, loss, displacement and turmoil while at the same time examining the indicativeness of photography as evidence of truth. The jury was impressed by its clear vision, complexity and ambition. Kganye combines art forms such as photography, collage and film installation and sculpting in a performative and visually sophisticated manner, drawing on family and collective archives to reveal the fabricated nature of history and memories.
Within the privacy of her South African context, Kanye’s multifaceted work resonates with her country’s shocking colonial history and apartheid, often taking literature, theater and oral traditions as a starting point. In her first series Ke Lefa-Laka: Her Story, 2013, the visual artist appears as a ghostly apparition. In portraits of her mother, who died several years ago.Her most recent theatrical and pictorial dioramas consist of cut silhouettes of her relatives and other individuals and are depicted as shadow puppets.In this way, Kganye’s work shows much more than simple testimony about the events of the past.Instead , uses photography as a means to tell and visualize a new history.”
Kganye’s response: The award comes at a time when my relationship with the way I make art has changed quite a bit and where I realize healing is the main goal in my stories. I am grateful that others have also experienced this healing. The way I express myself visually has changed and oral tradition and importance are central to this. Choosing works shows how I think through my practice and shows the connections I make.
After Lebohang Kganye, the jury awarded honorable mentions to the work of Sabelo Mlangeni (South Africa), co-founder of Umhlabathi Collective. “Mlangeni’s compelling work focuses on the sensibilities in the lives of queers in the South African towns of Lagos, which he shows in a highly personal, collaborative, and at times optimistic style.”
The Lebohang Kganye Prize will receive €20,000 and her work will be displayed during a solo exhibition at the Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam. Her name was added to the list of her impressive ancestors. Last year, the Foam Paul Huf Prize was awarded to John Edmonds (USA, 1989). His solo exhibition A Sidelong Glance can be seen at Foam until June 19, 2022.
This year’s 2022 jury consisted of: Alona Pardo (Chairman of Jury and Curator Barbican Art Gallery, UK), Oscar Muñoz (Visual Artist and Founder of Lugar a Dudas, Colombia), Oluremi Onabanjo (Curator, MoMA), New York ), Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger (Chief Curator of the Finnish Museum of Photography and Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Political Photography Festival, Finland) Dimitt Yildiz Dinter (Director of the Department of Modern Photography in Istanbul, Turkey).
More about the jury members>
About Lebohang Kganye
Libohang Kjani was born in 1990 in Johannesburg, where she currently lives and works. She belongs to a new generation of contemporary South African photographers. In addition to her work as a visual artist, Kganye is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Other major awards he has already won include the Grand Prix Images Vevey 2021/22, the 2020 Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Award, the Camera Austria 2019 award, and was a finalist at the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Initiative 2019. Kganye’s work is included in many Private and public collections, including the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the Walther Collection in Ulm, Germany.
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