Ke Lefa Laka : Her-Story & Heir-Story (2012 – 2013)

This two-part photography project examines identity through the spheres of family and South African history. In Her-Story, Lebohang Kganye recreates the presence of her late mother using digital editing to juxtapose the figures of two women. Roland Barthes’ famous term ça a été, used to describe the capacity of photography to forever capture a given instant while also ensuring it will perish, is interpreted in an intimate and personal manner by the artist. By dressing in a similar way and adopting the same poses, Kganye lurks in the historic shadow of her mother while at the same time sharing a moment in the present, the moment of the photographic image.

Heir-Story is a series of photographs of life-sized collages that stage episodes from the life of Kganye’s grandfather during the time of Apartheid. By donning typically masculine clothes, Kganye questions her own identity by playing out the story of a man she never knew while using a décor de- scribed to her by her grandmother. Ke Lefa Laka is both a work of photography and a family album, it is a subjective archive of a family narrative that is seeking its own rightful history.

Kganye establishes the body and its representation in images, the real and the fictional, as the two foundational entities of a composition that is both personal and communal. Conceived as self-por- traits, Ke Lefa Laka positions itself within a net- work of complex connections that elicits the issues of the artist’s gender and ethnic origins, her ma- ternal ancestry, and the country’s political history, all while evoking the fragmented heritage of the black population of South Africa that is comprised of one/many narratives.

Born in 1990 in Katlehong, South Africa –
Lives in Johannesburg

Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali