Letz Photography’s first ever solo exhibition debuts in Johannesburg
Local photographer, Letso Leipego of Letz Photography will host his first ever solo exhibition at the Guns & Rain Gallery in Parkhurst, Johannesburg on the 22nd of August 2018. Leipego’s highly anticipated showcase will feature a new collection of images under the theme ‘Chasing My Past’ and past works from his 2014 portrait series ‘Tell My Story’. Leipego’s captivating images emphasize contrast and the stylized manipulation of shadows that draw the audience to details that would otherwise pass unnoticed.
“Chasing My Past showcases elements of traditional African religious practices that are mixed with Christianity to create a dynamic culture. For example, one of my pictures features a live chicken as a focal point because of its prominence in traditional sacrifices. The candle in my other work not only illuminates the subjects but also emphasizes the religious symbolism of objects like the drums that are used for praise and worship. The actual location for this project is a real church that provides architectural and spacial context,” Leipego said.
The young photographer explained that his stories focus on giving the people from his early life in rural Botswana an identity, specifically those from his mother’s church, the Siloame Apostle Church in Zion which she joined in 1992, a year after he was born. He fondly remembers his childhood when he never missed the opportunity to attend Sunday service, an experience he strives to recreate in his photos.
“This memory about my life is as vivid as if it happened yesterday. Growing up in the city made me oblivious to certain aspects of my childhood in the village. As I became an adult, certain questions were lingering in my mind regarding my religious beliefs. A little voice in my head kept telling me to go to the village and search for answers,” he said.
To capture his portraits, Leipego prefers to travel to remote locations where life is quiet, with minimal distractions so that he can connect deeply with the people he photographs and after many years of absence he finally made his way back to his home village where he was overwhelmed with childhood memories which inspired his current work.
“A certain childhood memory kept flashing in my mind over and over. This was a cleansing ritual that was performed after my grandmother’s funeral which involved the sacrifice of a cow. Before all its blood drained from the carcass, we all had to place our hands as a family on the cow while the pastors prayed in the background, declaring the sacrifice,” Leipego revealed.
‘Chasing My Past’ was then birthed from his desire to understand the significance of this ritual and its influence on his current religious identity. “I am planning to bring the exhibition to Botswana because most of us have been through this. We performed the rituals because our parents wanted us to but we didn’t know the significance behind everything. That is why this series is the journey to my freedom because I have found the answers through the interpretation of my pictures,” he concluded.