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Lebohang Kganye Tries To Remember Her Mother By Becoming Her Mother

Posted by on January 30, 2018 | Photographer Interviews

Three years after her mother died, the Johannesburg-based photographer Lebohang Kganye began looking for traces of her in the house her extended family had shared.

Kganye found clothing her mother had worn, and old photographs of her mother wearing it. For the series Ke Lefa Laka: Her-story (2013), Kganye put on the clothing herself, and assumed the poses her mother had assumed. Using photomontage, she superimposed her own self-portraits onto the vintage photographs of her mother, creating a ghostly, doubling effect.

“She is me, I am her and there remains in this commonality so much difference, and so much distance in space and time,” Kganye said in a statement about the series.

More than anything, the photographs were an attempt to cling on to memory. “I realized that I was scared that I was beginning to forget what my mother looked like, what she sounded like, and her defining gestures. The photomontages became a substitute for the paucity of memory, a forged identification and imagined conversation.”

Below is a selection of images from the series. All images © Lebohang Kganye.

Ka 2-phisi yaka e pinky II, 2013

Ka mose wa malomo kwana 44 II, 2013

Ke bala buka ke apere naeterese II, 2014

Ke bapala seyalemoya bosiu ka naeterese II, 2013

Ke tsamaya masiu II, 2013

Kwana Germiston bosiu I, 2013

Re intshitse mosebetsing II, 2013

Re shapa setepe sa lenyalo II, 2013

Re tantshetsa phaposing ya sekolo II, 2013

Setshwantso le ngwanaka II, 2012

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