This month’s residency artist is Anthea Pokroy from I Collect Gingers.
If you don’t know anything about the residency, please visit our residency page for more info.
My work explores the notion of archiving and collecting through photography, and most recently through other digital media. Through a continuous process of gathering groups of people, I am interested in identifying collective experience, communal identity and ‘otherness’. In this way, I begin analysing (pseudo-scientifically) the likenesses and differences amongst self-identified groups. These investigations all feed into the exploration of my own identity as a white, (ginger), Jewish, female artist living in Johannesburg, South Africa.
My most recent project constituted a two and half year long process of collecting redheads. This work manifested at my first solo exhibition, I collect gingers, at Speke Photographic/ CIRCA on Jellicoe in Johannesburg in January 2013.
The exhibition, which displayed 500 portraits of gingers as well as a Ginger Manifesto, ginger history and ginger identity cards, intended to construct a narrative, an imagined history and hypothetical future, as well as a system of classification around a self-identified ‘race’ of gingers. I also used this minority (2% of the world population) and mythical (historically considered witches and demons) group of redheaded people to highlight the obscurities of racial classification and discrimination which remain prevalent globally today. Working in South Africa, a context that has historically been obsessed and oppressed by skin colour, I suggest an ironic alternative to genetic and pigment-based racial profiling. I started to imagine a ‘ginger utopia’ and what its implications would be.
This project received a large amount of national and international interest and participation. It is this participatory practice (and “crowd-sourced artwork”) that I intend to pursue in my work, currently through the development of other random archives.
In the last year after exhibiting this body of work, I began to develop an interest in data; how it can be visualised and interacted with; and how this process pushes my original, satirical intention of classifying and reducing people to a statistic, colour or type.
Over the next 14 days during my 2week residency, I intend to further analyse, collate, and manifest in various ways, the data that came from these 500 gingers.