Book launch and exhibition of 'Seedtimes' by Omar Badsha. Badsha was joined in conversation by Ari Sitas and Imraan Coovadia.
Fragments from the discussion:
Omar: I am always fascinated, a lot of my work is around certain themes – themes of rituals, performances, and I love this interplay between performer and audience. And you see it there, you see it in… a lot of the photographs
This is a moment: I was walking to my office through this area, an area that I grew up in and I noticed this man, long before he got to that spot, and I followed him, because he was very dignified, very unusual, and he... there is a series of pictures of him, I have of him at the edge of he crowd and he, slowly making himself to this.... And I followed him and I then stood back and I concentrated on him but, this was the moment.
You have an instinct of things when you are walking in the street, you become incredibly attuned to what is happening and then you try and extract out of it one or frame something that, out which you can create new meaning for, for yourself. So that picture, that moment, er, was part of the sequence, and I then, like all of us photographers, we edit it, we put it together in a narrative
Ari: Can I say one little thing and then leave it with you?
This époque, it’s high apartheid, there’s a tentative crowd, who’ve got a distance, there is a cop watching the performer – you don’t know what violence may be unleashed, there is the peculiar moment, in history, we’re talking about history, where something is unfolding – look at the faces, everybody wants to be part of the performance but they are three meters away.... Here, what is this cop doing? Watching the performer – what would he say? What is he saying? What will he be saying?
Ari: So all of a sudden, this...
Ari: This tension... and if you look at all these slogans above, ‘Was Christ Really Crucified’ [audience laugh], and then all of a sudden you are… there’s Durban – I mean so, there’s history – and that’s what makes all these things paintings - not just snatches – anyway, that’s my two, two bits, you know…
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