For this project I look at two women 8,302 miles apart from each other, one British and one South African. My Kokwane and my Grandmother. For me, the complexities of being mixed British is something I have addressed through other people, now I am turning the camera onto two women who in part have made me who I am today. It is my opportunity to explain my idea of being British and South African through the lives of my Grandmothers. By shadowing these women I aim to show their lives through a series of observations, looking at class, personal history, aspiration and what the domestic tells us about the individual.
I capture things which remind me of both sides of my upbringing. Some of my earliest memories are in my British grandmothers picturesque garden in Kent, but the smell of fried chicken on a hot day reminds me of Johannesburg. When I see the colour cream it reminds me of staying in the spare room but burnt orange and dust takes me to the townships.
These women both born into poverty have always aspired. Kokwane was the first woman to have a brick house on her street, and she now rents the shack that she used to live in. One can’t read or write but the other made a life long career from it. They both live in solitude, and their homes have never been shared with anyone, it is their palace. Their sanctum. What surrounds them is a trail of what has been, a trail of embers from the wildfire that has ripped through their lives and it burns the soles of anyone which dares to find the source.
These two women have never spoken about the trauma in their lives, a series of abusive relationships, the death of their sons, displacement. Both have protection around them, made of brick and mortar. In this work I will chip away at this acropolis, to try for the first time, to really know who they are. By searching their homes I try to find the truths which have been entombed.