I find solace in the water, I am transfixed by its beauty and magnetism. But since moving to Cape Town, I’ve started to listen to the stories these waters hold, the history that still crashes against its rocks. South Africa’s coastline was historically segregated into zones for the ‘white’ and ‘non-white’ populations to use for leisure and livelihood. There is a lasting legacy of this divided narrative around water, questions of choice, ability and cultural inclination remain prevalent.
The Colour of Water is a collaborative inquiry with researcher Joanne Peers, a 41-year-old mother of two and child of Apartheid. Working alongside Joanne’s PhD in the Environmental Humanities, her reflection on her past runs parallel to her redefining her troubled relationship with the water. In making space for herself within water spaces and challenging colonial narratives, she has become an important voice for other people of colour within the ocean community. We have been considering how my images echo or contrast with her past and what that means in the larger context of collective memory. Meanwhile, she has been revisiting childhood memories, holding them up to the light to see which have remained constant and which have taken on new meaning over time. Joanne’s writing informs my imagery and in turn my photographs of her journey begin to shape her own understanding of it.
For an example of Joanne's written work, in collaboration with this image making process, follow the below link to Freedom is Not a Day: