African Photography: Photomontage, Part 5

African Photography: Photomontage, Part 5

Posted in Photography

Today, photomontage techniques are continuously updated by contemporary artists in surprising and unexpected ways. They create various images in which multiple photographs are combined with digital symbols and dreamscapes, using graphics editing tools. Those images often feel like screen captures from surrealist movies or video games that follow a specific narrative when put together. Each image is constructed to convey a message, be it commentary on social or political issues.

Ivan Forde

Ivan Forde was born in 1990 in Georgetown, Guyana, and raised in New York, United States. He was introduced to photography in his youth through a teen photography residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2006. He deepened his interest in photography while studying literature, especially classic poetry, at Purchase College. In 2012, Forde completed his studies with an award-winning thesis of self-portraits representing a reader’s reaction to John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, which describes the fall of Adam and Eve in a chaotic way. After graduation, he became more involved in his art practice and worked in non-profit spaces. Using self-portraiture, his work draws on themes of identity, memory, and migration. He uses digital manipulation and collage to transform his images into surrealist narrative reminiscent of English poetry. In his Dense Lightness (2018) series, Forde revisited the Epic of Gilgamesh through interdisciplinary experimentations with large-scale cyanotypes. The artist used his own image in photomontage, creating a poetic mirror of himself as both subject and viewer with a focus on Gilgamesh’s double to depict the struggle between opposing spaces.

Ivan Forde - Birth of Enkidu

Ivan Forde - Fishing

Neo Matloga

Neo Matloga was born in 1993 in Mamaila, South Africa, and currently lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He studied Visual Art at the University of Johannesburg, and completed a residency at De Ateliers in Amsterdam in 2018, with a focus on painting. Matloga works with drawing, painting and collage to make large-scale mixed media pieces on paper or canvas, depicting intimate domestic scenes that capture memories of daily life in South Africa. These monochromatic works play with surrealism and perspective, pushing light, shadow and line to the edge of abstraction. Using ink, charcoal and found photographs of family, friends, and prominent South African figures, Matologa reflects on social and political topics of past and present. In his series Black Collages (2018), he uses distorted images of black faces on his characters to highlight their complex identity and challenge some people’s prejudices or racist gaze, thereby disappropriating its oppressive power. Matloga’s practice is also a meditation on the healing properties of family and home, showing fragments of happiness and togetherness in the midst of struggle, and the new hope about a democratic future which was emerging after the Apartheid.

Lebohang Kganye

Lebohang Kganye was born in 1990 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she currently lives and works. She completed her training in photography at the Market Photo Workshop in 2011, and obtained a diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg in 2014. She works with photography, self-portraiture and archives to engage notions of history, memory and fiction. She uses sculptural, performative, theatrical and moving images to re-experience the past by creating imaginative sceneries where real and fictional characters coexist. In the series Her-story (2013), Kganye takes her family photographs as raw material to recreate scenes, garments, and poses of her late mother, crossing temporal and generational boundaries. She portrays herself as a present version of her mother, juxtaposing both versions to create an imagined conversation between mother and daughter. In the series Heir-story (2013), she impersonates her grandfather by wearing his suit to reenact scenes from his life, examining familial and gender roles. She poses among a set of enlarged photos from her family albums to revisit scenes of her grandfather’s displacement during the Apartheid era.


Posted in Photography  |  February 17, 2024