Jo Ractliffe, Deminer near Cuvelai, Angola, 2009
Gelatin silver print, courtesy Michael Stevenson Gallery © Jo Ractliffe all rights reserved.
On view October 11, 2014 to March 15, 2015
Located in the: Special Exhibition Galleries
Photographer Jo Ractliffe (b. 1961) has spent the better part of the last decade photographing the effects of the prolonged civil war in Angola (1975-2002), both in the country itself and in her native South Africa. From the capital city of Luanda to the former battlefields where mines and disused military installations litter the landscape, the artist explores the poignant, humane and occasionally surreal vestiges of violence past, and examines the lives of the people and animals who now inhabit the land. Recently the artist has been photographing in South Africa itself, where encampments and mining facilities helped sustain that country's involvement in the war. Now largely decommissioned, these installations have become curious features of the landscape.
Borderlands brings together a selection of Ractliffe's haunting black and white photographs inspired by the Angolan conflict. Beautiful and evocative, her work raises questions not just about the war, but also about the triumph and folly of human endeavor, showing us history on a human scale.
Support provided by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.