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CIRCA:
Culture Art Society (CAS) has a curatorial praxis that you call memory work , can you tell us more about this?

CULTURE ART SOCIETY (CAS):
In the early stages of developing our work, we knew what we were trying to do, but weren’t sure how to fully articulate a praxis that breathes a full scope. We coined memory work to facilitate a framework for our research and efforts to digitally interrupt the physical integrity of archival materiality.

To "excavate" spaces, institutions, and materials to institute a form of care-work for Black communities through the arts and curating. “Who has access to participate? And how can we intervene in hierarchies and languages that inform not only access but also knowledge production?” These are a few of several questions that undergird our platform.

Memory work is CAS’s curatorial pedagogy that occupies a space between intervention, interdisciplinarity, yet anti-disciplinarity. On one hand in constant inquiry of how the digital realm reconfigures African cultural mappings, and on the other hand, defy the notion that rigorous research is an inherent institutional practice.

Thabiso Sekgala (South Africa) was a photographer whose work explored themes of abandonment, memory, spatial politics and concept of home. ‘In photography I am inspired by looking at human experience whether lived or imagined,’ Sekgala once expressed. ‘Images capture our history and who we are, our presence and absence. Growing up in both rural and urban South Africa influences my work. The dualities of these both environments inform the stories I am telling through my photographs, by engaging issues around land, peoples’ movement, identity and the notion of home.’ Sekgala held solo exhibitions in South Africa and Europe and exhibited in group shows internationally, including Les Rencontres D’Arles, LagosPhoto Festival and Bamako Biennale. In 2013 he had residencies in both the Kunsterhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and at HIWAR/Durant Al Funun, Jordan. He studied at Johannesburg’s Market Photo Workshop from 2007 to 2008 and was awarded the Tierney Fellowship in 2010. Sekgala died in Johannesburg in 2014.

‘In photography I am inspired by looking at human experience whether lived or imagined,’ Sekgala once expressed. ‘Images capture our history and who we are, our presence and absence. Growing up in both rural and urban South Africa influences my work. The dualities of these both environments inform the stories I am telling through my photographs, by engaging issues around land, peoples’ movement, identity and the notion of home.’ - Thabiso Sekgala

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WORK:

Homeland, Thabiso Sekgala, 2020:

Homeland is a series about rural areas in South Africa, in particular the ex-homelands of Bophutatswana and KwaNdebele. It is a series of monuments – to life, to time, to the lives that are lived there. It is a monument to individual memories and collective singularities. It is not an overall survey of what has happened to the former homelands in the new dispensation, or a typology of rural areas. It is an individuated exploration of present-ness and nostalgia, and their intersections in land and person. Situated within the liminal space where history meets present reality, it is a document of space and its imagined identities that considers how people and place construct themselves in a time of political change.