In Landscapes Between Then and Now, Nicola Brandt examines the increasingly compelling and diverse cross-disciplinary work of photographers and artists made during the transition from apartheid to post-apartheid and into the contemporary era.
By examining specific artworks made in South Africa, Namibia and Angola, Brandt sheds light on established and emerging themes related to aftermath landscapes, embodied histories, (un)belonging, spirituality and memorialization. She shows how landscape and identity are mutually constituted, and profiles this process against the background of the legacy of the acutely racially divisive policies of the apartheid regime that are still reflected on the land. As a signpost throughout the book, Brandt draws on the work of the renowned South African photographer Santu Mofokeng and his critical thinking about landscape.
Landscapes Between Then and Now explores how practitioners who engage with identity and their physical environment as a social product might reveal something about the complex and fractured nature of postcolonial and contemporary societies. Through diverse strategies and aesthetics, they comment on inherent structures and epistemologies of power whilst also expressing new and radical forms of self-determinism.
Brandt asks why these cross-disciplinary works ranging from social documentary to experimental performance and embodied practices are critical now, and what important possibilities for social and political reflection and engagement they suggest.