The Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz, which is awarded biennially, will be bestowed on Lebohang Kganye (born 1990 in Katlehong, ZA) in 2019.
The jury founded their decision to honour Lebohang Kganye with this award on the following statement: “Lebohang Kganye’s animated photography offers an inventive look into her own family’s histories, and by implication the wider history of the South Africa from before and during Apartheid. We find her work to be bold, serious and playful in equal measure, while also being aesthetically innovative and politically relevant. By unfixing and reimagining the family photo album, Kganye investigates the instability and unreliability of memory in relation to personal and collective narratives. In her project “Ke Lefa Laka: Her-Story” (2013) she does so by channeling her late mother through found photographs, inserting herself alongside her in photographs, and acting out her mother while wearing her clothes. Her mother was important for Kganye, “because of Apartheid and the history of our country, there is an absence of fathers in a lot of black families. I was raised by women in that sense, because, you know, fathers and husbands were gone for multiple reasons.” In the follow-up series “Ke Lefa Laka: Heir-Story” (2013) she dresses up as her grandfather, and through this act looks deeper into his opposition to Apartheid politics. She continues such explorations in her ongoing series “Reconstruction of a Family” (2016–), where she tries to locate her family’s history and plays out the stories she has been told about her forebears. The jury considers Kganye’s work an important contribution to the global photographic scene and wishes this award to be an encouragement for her further artistic endeavours.”
Jury consisted of: Taco Hidde Bakker, author, Amsterdam (NL) David Campany, curator, Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim (GB/DE) Julia Grosse, Contemporary &, Berlin (DE) Nina Strand, Objektiv, Oslo (NO) Reinhard Braun, publisher Camera Austria International, Graz (AT)
The Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz was established in 1989 and is bestowed every two years on an artist who has published a noteworthy contribution in the magazine Camera Austria International and has made an important contribution to contemporary photography. The prize-money is Euro 15,000.