In 2017, the Krugerrand ‘celebrated’ 50 years since it was introduced during the apartheid era. Political power may have changed hands in South Africa, but much of the country’s economic power still remains in the hands of the minority white population.
Two decades after Nelson Mandela was elected, and after the much lauded peace and reconciliation process, racial tension in South Africa is still a major issue. Many believe that the country has become more divided as the economy has failed to deliver the growth and jobs promised to bring greater financial equality to the population as a whole. For the majority of South Africans, not much has changed economically in the past twenty years. Using visual aesthetics I wanted to reflect this.
The image’s embellishments have been influenced a) by distressed old images – colour-tinged and water-marked – to create a “time-line” aesthetic – in this case, from apartheid era – to the present. b) coloured discs symbolise the Krugerrand, a potent symbol of the apartheid era and still of ownership and wealth today. (in 2017, somewhat poignantly, the Krugerrand ‘celebrated’ 50 years since its introduction).
N.B. In his printed work, Chris Kirby often embellishes his images with lines, marks and colouring to disrupt the conventional perspective associated with the medium and the subject matter – and in a nuanced way convey deeper meaning to the imagery.
About Chris Kirby
Chris Kirby is a documentary photographer, photojournalist, visual artist and writer. He was born in London and was admitted to Kingston College of Art and Design (in the UK), later obtaining a diploma in journalism from the British College of Journalism. He explores areas of social context including: culture and identity, historical perspectives, traditions and beliefs, socio-economic issues and marginalised communities. He writes on socio-economic affairs, environmental issues, tourism and contemporary art. He specialises in AFRICA.
Chris’ work has featured in numerous print and online publications, and has won recognition in international awards, most recently: Winner Black and White International Award, 2016 – Winner Black and Whiter Spider Awards, 2017 and Winner LensCulture Exposure Awards, 2018. His photography has been exhibited in the UK, Europe, and most recently at the Klompching Gallery in New York, USA. [Official Website]
In my recent work, such as: We gave you forgiveness… (you kept the Kruggerands) I have attempted to ‘push the boundaries’ of conventional documentary photography by the application of visual symbolism and metaphors, presented as a form of visual language
I have embellished my photos with lines, marks and colouring in order to disrupt the conventional perspective associated with the medium and the subject matter – and in a nuanced way convey deeper meaning to the imagery