Painting over the Present

Graeme Williams

An exploration of the dwellings of some of South Africa's poorest people for whom little has changed in real terms since the end of Apartheid.~~Since 2010, Graeme Williams has been working on his project charting the transformation of South Africa's society since the end of minority rule.~~I began this project 16 years after the end of apartheid rule in South Africa. As a photographer, I have explored the transformation of society and aspects of change as a general theme. In this particular essay I have focused on the environments occupied by some of South Africa’s poorest people. It would seem that although wealth and power have shifted hands since the first democratic elections in 1994, many of the benefits of these shifts have failed to filter down to grassroots level.

The photographs focus on the interiors and exteriors of people’s homes. They are intentionally static in their composition in order to accentuate the minutiae of the occupants’ day-to-day dwelling places.~ ~The bright colours captured in these photographs act as visual trinkets to momentarily distract the viewer from deeper harsh realities. However, although they encourage denial, they are also suggestive of resilience, hope and, sense of humanity that remains in these poverty-stricken communities.~~These photographs were taken in small towns, townships and cities throughout South Africa. It has been surprising to find that although the areas differ in many ways, there are almost always individuals who seemingly refuse to be subsumed into the starkness that surrounds them.

 

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neatly painted shack standing in a field of long...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neatly painted shack standing in a field of long...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A tree grows in front of a neatly painted shack.
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      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neatly painted blue corrugated iron shack.
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      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neatly painted yellow shack.

      Graeme...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      Firewood stored on the roof of a corrugated iron...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A corrugated iron shack neatly painted with red...

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      Two small corrugated iron shacks.

      Graeme...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A corrugated iron shack neatly painted with blue...

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A small corrugated iron shacks.

      Graeme...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A brightly painted caravan.

      Graeme Williams'...

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A corrugated iron shack whose doors and roof are...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neat front porch of a shack decorated with a potted...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neatly painted corrugated iron shack with a...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A children's playground toy sits in a neat patch of...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A standpipe next to an iron fence in a neat township....

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neat children's playground.

      Graeme...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neat stone and plaster house.

      Graeme...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A tiny breeze block shed.

      Graeme Williams'...

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      Neat corrugated iron shacks that have been partially...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neat corrugated iron shack that has been painted...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neat shack that has been partially plastered and...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neat corrugated iron shack that has been painted...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      Barbed wire surrounds a small shop, painted pink....

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      The kitchen of a small shack that has been made as...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      Elizabeth Liphalane a resident of Boipatong Township.

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      Francina Thethani a resident of Boipatong Township.

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A corrugated iron shack neatly painted with blue...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A shack with an external wall that has been covered...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A mural on the side of a house depicting a mixed race...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neatly painted house with a landscape picture used...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A neatly painted car mounted on a steel frame.
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      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      Neatly painted blue houses.

      Graeme Williams'...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A old bus that has been painted blue.

      Graeme...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A palm tree grows behind a neatly painted yellow...

      © Graeme Williams

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      SOUTH AFRICA

      A sunflower grows near a neat corrugated iron...

      © Graeme Williams

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