Thursday the 14rh of November. 7p.m. Biblioteca Vila de Gràcia. C. Torrent de l’Olla, 104

CONVIVIALITY EXPERIENCES IN SOUTH AFRICA POSTAPARTHEID

Photography project of Sydelle Willow Smith, artist in residence in Jiwar. (Presentation in English with Catalan translation)

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“In May 2008, South Africans made headlines by embarking on widespread campaigns of violence against African migrants. Within a single month, notion such as ‘rainbow nation’, and ‘South Africa belongs to all those that live in it’ were dismantled. More than sixty people were killed, and five years later, xenophobic tensions have lingered. Foreigners are often accused of committing crimes; bringing disease, and ‘stealing’ employment opportunities framed as the scapegoat “Other”.

(…) As an artist and photographer framed by Anthropological methods, I believe it is important to collect and share alternative archives that can offer new perspectives. Over the past year and half I have experienced fragments of the everyday lives of immigrants and South Africans who are living beyond labels such as xenophobia or nationality through the friendships and partnerships they have formed – making new forms of home and neighbourhood together.

I am interpreting a new landscape beyond the rainbow where foreigners and South Africans fall in love, have children build homes together, and become friends – but may camouflage their cultural distinctness or “exoticness” to fit in, and not stand out. The need to blend in is ironic in a country where one is told to “celebrate our differences” and heterogeneity divides where xenophobic sentiment is fuelled by fictional and factual markers of difference such as darker or lighter shades of skin, facial distinctions or accents marking one as a ‘makwerekwere’ or ‘mlungu’.Membership is a melancholic yet colourful layer of possibility, where new memories are made in a landscape of South Africa that is after the rainbow, as after all the colours of the rainbow do not mix.”

With the support of:

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