They Came From The Water While The World Watched
2016 - 2019 (overview)
This work depicts indigenous South African Ancestral belief and Christianity, in relation to missionary activity and the colonisation of the country, addressing the long-term repercussions of the 19th century European colonial agenda. It discusses the attempted dismantling of Ancestral religion and its replacement with Christianity whilst considering documentary photography and the western gaze, and exploring the sanctity of keeping traditional beliefs alive and the adaptation to the world we know today.
The complex interplay between Christianity and Ancestral religion manifest within my own family, where it is common practice to call on God and The Gods. Being both British and South African, I address the clash of beliefs from the point of view of the coloniser and the colonised. Embodying a dual perspective and with an exploratory approach, I highlight the symbiotic relationship between cultural elements and the resilience of pre-colonial customs in as they adopt a modern guise. The title ‘They Came From The Water While The World Watched’ is a reference to the initial European migration and colonisation of South Africa and the Western world's indifference to the perpetration of this act.
This work will be published as a limited edition photobook by The Lost Light Recordings in 2020. Extended series available upon request.