[I]n this essay I have focused on the environments occupied by some of South Africa’s poorest people. It would seem that although wealth and power have shifted hands since the first democratic elections in 1994, many of the benefits of these shifts have failed to filter down to grassroots level.
The photographs focus on the interiors and exteriors of people’s homes. They are intentionally static in their composition in order to accentuate the minutiae of the occupants’ day-to-day dwelling places.
The bright colours captured in these photographs act as visual trinkets to momentarily distract the viewer from deeper harsh realities. However, although they encourage denial, they are also suggestive of resilience, hope and, sense of humanity that remains in these poverty-stricken communities.
These photographs were taken in small towns, townships and cities throughout South Africa. (Graeme Williams)
And all the little homes of man / Rise to a dimmer, nobler span; / When colour’s absence gives escape/ To deeper spirit of the shape
From the poem, Moonlight, by Victoria Sackville-West.
Graeme Williams – Painting over the Present (South Africa, 2008)
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