Lebohang Kganye Wins 2024 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize

Lebohang Kganye, Mohlokomedi wa Tora, Scene 2, 2018. Photo: Lebohang Kganye/Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation.

South African multimedia artist Lebohang Kganye has been awarded the 2024 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize for her 2023 exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam, “Haufi nyana? I’ve come to take you home” (Too Close? I’ve come to take you home). The exhibit explores themes of home, belonging, heritage, and identity through life-size cutouts of the artist’s family made from photographs. Kganye was chosen from a shortlist that included VALIE EXPORT, Gauri Gill & Rajesh Vangad, and Hrair Sarkissian, each receiving £5,000 ($6,300). The prestigious £30,000 ($38,000) award was presented at a ceremony at the Photographers’ Gallery in London on May 16.

“We are delighted to announce Lebohang Kganye as the winner of the 2024 prize,” said Clare Grafik, acting director of the Photographers’ Gallery, in a statement. “Her innovative use of photography brings together past and present to explore the political through deeply personal stories of her own family and history. Sometimes theatrical, always experimental, her use of photography and her own archives is powerful and refreshing.”

Anne-Marie Beckmann, director of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, praised Kganye for her “risk-taking exploration of her family history, opening up important discussions about the realities and consequences of apartheid.”

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Portrait of Lebohang Kganye. (Photo by Andile Buka)

The thirty-three-year-old artist, based in Johannesburg, is known for her multifaceted practice that integrates personal, cultural, political, and economic histories. Kganye’s journey into her family’s past began after her mother’s death when she was twenty. This led to her use of old photographs and performance art, often dressing as her mother and juxtaposing new images with historical ones. Her work deeply resonates with South African history, especially the impacts of apartheid, as seen in her exploration of the various spellings of her family’s surname.

“This work is really based on research that I’ve been doing since the moment my mother passed away,” Kganye said in her acceptance speech. “So this moment is very much about a celebration of the legacy she’s left me… my inheritance, my heritage… and also really finding my identity as a young South African woman.”

Kganye’s work is currently on display alongside that of the other shortlisted artists at the Photographers’ Gallery through June 2. The exhibition will then travel to the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation in Eschborn/Frankfurt, Germany, from June 13 to September 22, 2024.

This year marks 20 years of partnership between the Photographers’ Gallery and Deutsche Börse, and 25 years of the Art Collection Deutsche Börse. The 2024 jury included Rahaab Allana, Quentin Bajac, Anne-Marie Beckmann, Laura El-Tantawy, and Clare Grafik as the voting chair.

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, established in 1996, has become one of the most prestigious international arts awards, celebrating significant contributions to contemporary photography. Past winners include Samuel Fosso, Deana Lawson, Cao Fei, and Susan Meiselas.

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