In 1988, 2018 (South Africa), artist Sophie Barkham works with archival and original imagery. She crops and curates images from her father’s collection, taken in South Africa in 1988 at the height of Apartheid. Barkham’s parents were active in fighting Apartheid, however these 35mm scans depict nude, carefree, leisurely white bodies on holiday. The images negate who the individuals are and instead pull attention to the privilege they have.
Barkham challenges the viewer by contrasting these images with her own original photography taken in South Africa 30 years later, in 2018. These images hint at the colonialism and structural inequalities that still exist in South Africa today: from the Dutch imperialist architecture, to the non-indigenous pomegranate trees introduced into the landscape of the Western Cape. Barkham sets up a discussion about “otherness,” racial inequality, and privilege. Finally, Barkham uses the materiality of the photograph, through film grain and digital noise to illuminate the breakdown of the image in conjunction with the breaking down of ideologies and hope for the future.