Mouna Karray (Tunisia)
Gcotyelwa Mashiqa (South Africa), AKO Foundation Assistant Curator of Photography, Centre for Photography, Zeitz MOCAA
The Roger Ballen Foundation Centre for Photography collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits contemporary photography from Africa and its Diaspora, exposing it to a global audience. By hosting temporary exhibitions of photographers from around the world, the Centre also exposes local audiences and practitioners to the rich legacy of photography globally.
Acknowledging the broad spectrum of photography, from traditional to alternative modes, the Centre creates a platform for photographers from the continent to tell their own story, on their own terms.
The Centre develops educational programmes such as public discussions, lectures, conferences, and workshops that promote visual literacy and empower neglected and marginalised communities. An important role of the Centre is to encourage intercultural understanding and acknowledge the role photography played in the liberation movements in Africa, and continues to fulfil within society today.
Solitary environments, harsh landscapes and abandoned structures populate Karray’s photographs. Her work portrays forgotten people and forgotten lands.
In the Noir series, we see a body, staged in a photographic studio, constrained in a white sheet. Is the hand clutching the remote shutter-release, a visual metaphor for a clenched fist, a persistent symbol of resistance? Karray transforms the camera into an instrument of power, highlighting invisible figures of society and the harsh physical realities they face.
Taken in the south of Tunisia, Nobody Will Talk About Us, depicts a region which has lost its economic significance. We see the same figure, but now in a barren landscape. The smoothness of the figure contrasts with the roughness of the brown earth. This is a figure which remains eternally vulnerable in a precarious and inhumane environment.
“I’m in jail, my body is constrained but remains able to create”.