Soft Walls seeks to deal with convivial relationships between migrated African nationals and South Africans; revealing the subtle ways in which individuals make sense of their experiences; forming relationships and bonds that can challenge dominant perceptions wherein difference is celebrated and prejudices towards “foreign” Africans are perpetuated.
With migrants settling in, marrying, developing friendships and building homes with South Africans, the question of identity and belonging has become central. While immigrant integration has fairly engaged and transformed South African communities, the process has not, necessarily, led to cohesive communities. This has, in turn, led to the perceived walls or restrictions and unfavourable relationship issues.
Smith’s Soft Walls figuratively investigates the subtle ways in which African nationals and South Africans, in relationships, make sense of their space, experiences and complexities.
Sydelle Willow Smith is the first recipient of the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography. Market Photo Workshop in association with the family of the late Gisèle Wulfsohn in 2012 established the mentorship. The mentorship is set out as a developmental mentorship; and is seen as an opportunity to continue Gisèle Wulfsohn’s approach and interests in photography.
Smith was mentored by Dave Southwood.