Tierney Catalog 2012/13

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The Tierney Fellowship was created in 2003 by The Tierney Family Foundation to support emerging artists in the field of photography. The primary goal of the Fellowship is to find tomorrow's distinguished artists and leaders in the world of photography and assist them in overcoming the challenges that a photographer faces at the beginning of his or her career. The aim of the Fellowship is twofold: encouraging recipients to produce a new body of work and creating a global community of artists that will function as a crucial support network in an increasingly competitive field. The Fellowship supports the recipients both financially, by way of a cash grant, and technically, with mentorship and guidance from seasoned experts. At the end of the one-year grant period, recipients are expected to present a new body of work. Fellows remain an important part of the Program after the conclusion of their Fellowship. Seminars and critiques are held throughout the year to facilit

Transcript of Tierney Catalog 2012/13

  • The Tierney Fellowship was created in 2003 by The Tierney Family Foundation in New York. The Fellowship is intended to provide emerging photographers with support in the production of their work and in creating a support network in an increasingly competitive field. Fellows receive a cash grant, and work within a structured mentorship programme. At the end of the one-year grant period, recipients present a new body of work; this work is exhibited locally and selected works by each Fellow are then exhibited at the New York Photo Festival, which become part of the Tierney Foundation Archive. In 2008, the Wits School of Arts, the Market Photo Workshop and the Michaelis School of Fine Art were selected as the South African partners. Over the past three years we have worked collaboratively to develop a programme that both supports the individual creative and professional development of the Fellows, and facilitates their engagement with each other in the growing community of local photographers. Each fellow works with a mentor who guides and supports him or her through the process of developing a new project. In addition, we have introduced a collective mentoring programme of regular inter-institutional seminars and critiques where all fellows and mentors come together to exchange thoughts and ideas about the work in progress. Participation includes that of professional photographers, artists, curators and writers; this gives fellows exposure to the broader photographic and art community and the opportunity to engage in-depth with professionals on issues in relation to their projects - and in ways they may not usually have the opportunity to otherwise. Invited contributors have included David Goldblatt, Pieter Hugo, Berni Searle, Tracey Rose, Mikhael Subotsky, Thembinkosi Goniwe, Paul Weinberg, Michael Godby, Penny Siopis, Jane Alexander, Kathryn Smith, Dave Southwood, Roger Ballen, Santu Mofokeng, Patricia Hayes, Jodi Bieber and Peter McKenzie amongst others. The Fellowship programme is coordinated by Rory Bester and Jo Ractliffe at Wits, John Fleetwood and Molemo Moiloa at the Market Photo Workshop and Jean Brundrit and Svea Josephy at UCT.

    The Tierney Fellowship

  • The Tierney FellowshipSouth Africa 2012/13

    HeR-STORY, HeIR-STORYLebohang Kganye


    XVI XPaul Samuels

  • HeR-STORY, HeIR-STORYLebohang Kganye

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    HeR-STORY, HeIR-STORYLebohang Kganye

    They are kept stashed in wardrobes and chests while a few framed ones decorate room dividers. Some are arranged in albums as if to tell life stories and testimonies to identities. These are photos of my late mother, looking like the beautiful, fashionable, determined Black women seen in Drum magazine. As I began imulating her, the idea of the ghost started to emerge in my work. Family photographs are more than documentation of personal narratives; but they are also vehicles, to a fantasy that allows for a momentary space to perform ideals of family-ness. I found many old family photo albums, which led me to construct an album which told a particular story about my family, my story through their different voices and memories. To tell this story, I began attempting to trace where my family originated, exploring how my late grandfather ended up in Johannesburg through interviews with my family. Pulling out the threads of our larger family narrative by tracing my ancestral roots through stories about our family surname and Izithakazelo/Direto.

    This photographic journey seems to be a deep response to loss and mourning not just of different individuals, but of history, language and oral culture. Her-story, Heir-story is re-constructing my identity by reconnecting with family members both alive and dead and a larger family history. A family identity therefore becomes an orchestrated fiction and a collective invention. While these images record history, it is only a history imagined, as I choose which part of the fantasy to take with me and claim as my story.


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    Unomgcana or Umaskhenkethe is the Xhosa word for the plastic mesh bag, which is made in China. Unomgcana means the one with lines and Umaskhenkethe means the traveller. In South Africa the bag is more commonly known as China bag, Zimbabwe bag, Khumbulekhaya bags and Mashangaan bag. These bags are ubiquitous and known as the Ghana must go home bag in Nigeria, Bangladeshi bag in the UK, Turkish bags in Germany, Mexican bags in the US and Guyanese Samsonite in the Caribbean. These, often discriminatory names, reveal something of the anxiety felt towards the carriers of the bags, by the community towards which they are moving. These bags have become global symbols of migration, not only across borders but within countries too. These bags are objects that carry a home and are means of survival to one who does not have much.

    The bag is a personal reminder of my own migration within South Africa. I have experienced many of the challenges of a migrant and it took me a long time to adjust to the life in the places that I have moved to. I grew up surrounded by Unomgcana. I remember when my mother, who worked in Grabouw, would visit our family in the eastern Cape during the off-season. She would bring umphako (treats for the family), which often included a half cooked chicken stuffed with raw onions, lots and lots of apples as well as a few items of clothing. During the school holiday I would travel to Grabouw and my father used to pack my belongings in unomgcana. The bag was an everyday object used by many people travelling from the eastern Cape to Cape Town. At the Langa bus terminus massive nomgcanas would be packed with peoples names written on to them to avoid them being lost because the bags are all similar.

    This exhibition of photographs reflects on my memory of growing up using the bag. For me the bag symbolises a home; the bag marked our home. I have a love and hate relationship with the bag because it is a symbol of struggling, a family having the mother as a breadwinner and not having enough to live on, but trying to have a stable home. Unomgcana has always been my companion throughout my childhood life and journeys. It has been my comfort and my home.


  • XVI XPaul Samuels

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    XVI XPaul Samuels

    For some time now I have been exploring the nature of portraiture, beginning with my hometown, edenvale. XVI X stands for 16 10, the postal code of edenvale and this is what prompted my project. On my 21st birthday my boss at the tattoo parlour said I should get a tattoo. Living in edenvale himself, he had XVI X tattooed on his ankle; I had seen the same tattoo before, on many people also from edenvale. For me the decision to get this etched beneath my skin for the rest of my existence didnt require any thought. I wanted it but I couldnt explain why. Its like when you buy that cheap crappy toy gun from the toy store you wanted anyway, so you got it. This tattoo was exactly that. I wanted it and I got it. No second thoughts.

    Then I started to question this. Why the hell would anyone want to tattoo this on themselves? Like it doesnt make sense. But to us, it does. This number is everywhere, its graffitied all over our streets, in our skatepark, in our clubs, tattooed on the side of a flying toaster on my mates leg, and even on an Iron-fist t-shirt, alongside a knuckleduster, and the word Brotherhood. I dont really like this word; I think brotherhood sounds too much like a gang, although brotherhood is probably the best way to describe it, in some ways.

    We are a bunch of middle class white kids, raised by each other, left to our devices, searching for who we are. We found each other, and for me at least, heavy metal music and skateboarding helped me. We all have this in common. We are young and angry, and were not even sure why. Maybe its the feeling of being nothing like the kids in the richer adjacent suburb, Bedfordview, with their fast cars, nice clothes and big houses. Maybe it was that we were the ones who sat in the back at school and told we were retarded because we just didnt give a fuck. But despite this anger, we are proud of where we are from, who we have become. Whos got your back? 16 10! I mean whats a greater statement of belonging than a local bands lyrics of home? A statement of unity, and for once, a place to belong. even if that may be held within two numbers: 16 10.

    The portraits I have taken are of the guys I grew up with. These portraits could be seen as collaborative: they portray my friends as they like to present themselves, full of their own bravado, but also how I see them, sometimes at a loss within themselves and the intimacies that happen between us.

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    Group Crit Sessions

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    With special thanks to the photographers, curators, artists and experts that participated in the 2012/13 sessions:

    Rory BesterJean BrundritJo RactliffeJohn FleetwoodSvea JosephyMolemo MoiloaRoger BallenJodi BieberBongi DhlomoDan HalterPatricia HayesPieter HugoDorothee KreutzfeldtGeorge MahasheBekie NtiniNontobeko NtombelaSiona OConnellAlex OpperJuan OrrantiaMary SibandeMocke J van VeurenPaul Weinberg

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    Tierney Fellows from South Africa