Earlier this year Rise Art held a global competition to uncover exciting contemporary artists working around the world. The winner of the Rise Art Prize Global Artist of the Year title, South African artist Lebohang Kganye, moved the judges with her theatrical photography. Lebohang’s work, which incorporates sculpture and performance, explores the artist’s family history - and by extension, the history of South Africa.
Since the Rise Art Prize Lebohang has exhibited at the Marrakech and New York editions of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. For Touria El Glaoui, Founder of 1-54 and Rise Art Prize judge, Lebohang’s work has an “undeniable presence”. “She distorts the linearity of time,” says Touria, “by exploring how history, memory and nostalgia can be altered, reshaped and rewritten - in a sense she is time-travelling through her work.”
Works from Lebohang’s Ke Lefa Laka (‘Her Story’) series are currently on show in a group exhibition, L’Afrique n’est pas une île (‘Africa Is No Island’), at the new Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech. In her Ke Lefa Laka series, Lebohang inserts herself into lifesize photographic scenes constructed from family photos and archive images.
You’ll spot the artist on the far right in Pied Piper above, dressed as her grandfather. By superimposing her present onto her family’s past, Lebohang investigates her personal history while also exposing, and questioning, the wider national narrative that this familial history fits into.