Us in Relation to the Universe – Collaborative North-South Photographic Practice Research
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 19:33 authored by Kerstin Hacker
In 1986 Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o argued that ‘[t]he choice of language and the use to which language is put is central to a people’s definition of themselves’ (Ngũgĩ, 1986:4). This article re-applies Ngũgĩ’s analysis to contemporary African photographic practice, since images are similarly central to people’s self-definition. Collaborating with the Zambian National Visual Arts Council, the practice-research project Stories of Kalingalinga developed a photographic workshop (2019) and exhibition (2020) to counteract Zambia’s lack of institutional engagement with photography. Focused on Kalingalinga, a high-density neighbourhood undergoing gentrification in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, the workshop provided space to experiment in decolonising creative practice through slow action research. As a photographer, animateur and curator from the global north, I present work by Zambian project participants Scotty Jongolo, Danny Chiyesu, Zenzele Chulu, Edith Chiliboy, Natalia Gonzalez Acosta, Margaret Malawo Mumba, Dennis Mubanga Kabwe, David Daut Makala, Muchemwa Sichone and Yande Yombwe. The article discusses the decolonisation of Zambian photography and the workshop’s deepening of my own decolonial photographic practice. I highlight the importance of empowering Zambian photographers through encouraging critically informed image-making in contemporary African photographic practice. African visual self-governance requires building supportive communities that embrace alternative and creative ways of knowledge creation.
Publication titlePhotography and Culture
PublisherTaylor & Francis
- Accepted version