South African artist, Lebohang Kganye has collaborated with The Georgian House Museum to create an installation as part of Bristol Photo Festival.
The Georgian House was once home to a sugar trader and his enslaved staff. Dipina tsa Kganya: Leave the light when you leave for good invites us to reflect on the legacy of colonialism as a shared history.
Lebohang’s black and white three-channel video installation offers a response to the violence of historical erasure of names and oral traditions.
The central component is the lighthouse featured in the middle channel of the video work. A light beam, in perpetual motion, casts light onto the surrounding ocean scene and in turn creates shadows in the two peripheral channels of the work.
In the first video, a lighthouse keeper appears as a custodian of this light, tending to it by continually cleaning the bulb – a light source that symbolically guides those lost at sea. The song featured in the work (composed by musician Thandi Ntuli) plays from a large, custom-built Polyphon music box, which is hand cranked in the third video.
These performative gestures are in conversation with the southern African practice of the ‘praise-singing’ of clan names as a way of passing down the origins of the family story as an act of resistance to historical erasure. This exhibition is part of Bristol Photo Festival.
The word dipina means ‘songs’ in my mother language of seSotho. The song referred to is that of my family clan names, traditionally passed down through oral tradition. Additionally, the Sotho word for ‘light’: kganya – is in the etymology of my last name: Kganye.
– Lebohang Kganye
Please note that this installation is on the first floor of the Georgian House and there is no lift access.
A maximum of two people can be in the room at once.
The light level in the installation space is low. If you have a visual impairment, please let our Visitor Assistants know on arrival.
Experience the installation in this 360 video: