The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly

  • Dates
    2021 - Ongoing
  • Author
  • Topics Documentary, Portrait, Social Issues
  • Locations Bridgetown, Harare, Shurugwi

The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly is a visual interrogation of my hybrid cultural identity, which explores the connection between conventional family photography and concepts of belonging.

I am a child of tangled colonial histories, a fourth generation Zimbabwean of Indian origin on my father’s side, with Dutch and German ancestry via South Africa on my maternal side. As a citizen of Zimbabwe, I identify as African and by virtue of my marriage to an Australian, I am now an immigrant on the opposite side of the Indian Ocean looking back at one ‘home’ from the viewpoint of another.

This ongoing series, 'The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly', evokes Tim Ingold’s anthropological concept of meshworks in which “every living being is a bundle of lines” that tangles with others[1]. The bold portraits incorporate elements of the natural environment, especially ‘native’ and ‘invasive’ species as a metaphor for belonging, layering archival images and African wax print embellishments, juxtaposing past and present, and creating something new from the entanglement.

The work plays with ambiguity, challenging at once the objective truth of photography and history and suggesting that as we search for a sense of belonging, hope can be found in the act of 'becoming'. Like the condition of hybridity itself, the series contains a selection of single images, diptychs, and embroidered images taken from documentary photographs of my family and homes in Zimbabwe and Australia.

The series title is from a Kei Miller poem, ‘What the Mapmaker Ought to Know’, 2015.

"On this island

Things fidget

Even history

The Landscape Does Not Sit

Willingly."

[1] Tim Ingold The Life of Lines (London and New York: Routledge, 2015)

© Davina Jogi - 'Pride of India'. Self-portrait in my wedding dress, Bridgetown, Western Australia, 2022, (Embroidered Photographic Collage)
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'Pride of India'. Self-portrait in my wedding dress, Bridgetown, Western Australia, 2022, (Embroidered Photographic Collage)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Natural Hybrids'. My parents and the bougainvillea in Stanger, (now known by its original Zulu name, KwaDakuza), South Africa, 1970s, and at home in Harare (formerly known as Salisbury, at the time my parents met), Zimbabwe, 2022. (Photographic Diptych)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Untitled'. Dying orchid flowers lie on the same verandah in Harare, Zimbabwe that all our family portraits were taken, 2022 (Digital Photograph)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Bilateral Symmetry'. My brother, Asa, and I on our front veranda in Harare, Zimbabwe, approximately 37 years apart, surrounded by our father's collection of orchids and fuchsias, 2022. (Photographic Diptych)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Tya Tya Sadakal Gujarat I'. Portrait of my brother, Asa Jogi, under the curry leaf tree in our garden in Harare, Zimbabwe. Known as a 'limdi' tree in Gujarati, it is a tell-tale sign of an Indian family in residence, 2022. (Digital Photograph)

© Davina Jogi - 'Concatenate'. Braiding our hair, Bridgetown, Western Australia, 2022. (Embroidered Photographic Collage).
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'Concatenate'. Braiding our hair, Bridgetown, Western Australia, 2022. (Embroidered Photographic Collage).

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Invasive Species'. My mother, Leslie Jogi, in the garden she tends at our house in Bridgetown, Western Australia. Born in Zambia, she has had 50 homes and held British, South African and Zimbabwean citizenship, 2021. (Embroidered Photographic Collage)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'This Black Earth'. My father, Shasekant Jogi, at a building site he worked on in Harare, Zimbabwe. Despite his Indian heritage, he has never been there. The burnt earth is all that remains of his grandfather's home, 2022. (Photographic Diptych)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Balga'. My Australian husband, Steven Dean, among the Balga trees. Balga may be interpreted as “one that is connected to” in the indigenous Noongar language of southwest Australia. Steven no longer feels at home in Australia, 2022 (Digital Photograph)

© Davina Jogi - 'A Bundle of Lines III'. Botanical meshworks growing at my homes in Zimbabwe and Australia, 2023. (Photographic Diptych)
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'A Bundle of Lines III'. Botanical meshworks growing at my homes in Zimbabwe and Australia, 2023. (Photographic Diptych)

© Davina Jogi - 'Brown Gilt'. Self-portrait with the golden wattle, Bridgetown, Western Australia, 2022. (Embroidered Photographic Collage)
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'Brown Gilt'. Self-portrait with the golden wattle, Bridgetown, Western Australia, 2022. (Embroidered Photographic Collage)

© Davina Jogi - 'Meshworks'. Botanical meshwork growing on the house I grew up in, Harare, Zimbabwe, 2022. (Digital Photograph)
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'Meshworks'. Botanical meshwork growing on the house I grew up in, Harare, Zimbabwe, 2022. (Digital Photograph)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Putting Down Roots'. A billboard for a housing development on the outskirts of Shurugwi, Zimbabwe, near where my great-grandparents once farmed, 2022. (Digital Photograph)

© Davina Jogi - Image from the The Landscape Does Not Sit Willingly photography project
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'Tya Tya Sadakal Gujarat II'. Despite our brown skin, our Indian identity is probably the least accessed by my brother and I, who were born and raised in an independent Zimbabwe, 2022. (Digital Photograph).

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