Andile Buka | ResidencySwitzerland | Visual Arts
January - March, 2020 — Visual Arts
Born in Soweto in 1990, Andile Buka is a self-taught film photographer living and working in Johannesburg. He describes his work as a conduit for storytelling as he navigates different spaces and life. Andile published his first photo book Crossing Strangers in 2015. The project centred around strangers he encountered on the streets of Johannesburg during his daily movements. Andile explains how this project led him to his next long-scale project, and which he will be working on during his residency in Basel, Switzerland. “After working on Crossing Strangers I began digging deeper into a conversation about my family lineage and about my roots. This led to the question of my own family, and my own ancestors. I started documenting portraits of my immediate family in Orange Farm in 2017, which was the start of this ongoing family archive project called Amaqwathi, which is my family’s clan name.”
In 2017 Andile was selected to present this work at the 5th New York Times Portfolio Review, which inspired him to continue developing the project. This body of work consists of portraits of his family in and around Johannesburg, interior and exterior spaces at family homes as well as particular objects that represent his family’s identity and connections.
Andile says: “Through working on the project I have learned about the roots of my lineage which is as far reaching as eNcobo in the Eastern Cape and eMsinga in Kwa-Zulu Natal, where my extended paternal family currently resides. I still have unconsolidated traces and maps that I want piece together – I find myself needing to know more. Every family member I encounter and photograph tells me about a part of my family history that I have not met. I want to know more.”
In addition to further archival research, Andile plans to use the residency to explore ways to present the project to his family in a way that unites his clan. He says that he “envisions the photographs living beyond photographic paper and becoming part of my family’s daily life.”
From the Amaqhwati series. Courtesy Andile Buka
During his time in Switzerland, Andile will also be taking part in the 2020 Plat(t)from Portfolio Review at the Fotomuseum Winterthur from 24-26 January 2020 as one of the 42 international young photographers selected to present their work to the public and a team of experts,
He will also take part in the Pro Helvetia supported Southern African Days of Literature Festival at Literaturhaus Zurich from 21-23 February 2020. During the three day event, authors, publishers, translators from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, as well as African writers living in Europe and the USA will present and discuss their work and life.
Andile’s commercial portfolio includes campaigns for adidas South Africa, Levi’s, Superga, MAXHOSA and ASOS and his photographs have been published in various print and online publications such as Vogue Italia, Aperture Magazine, Ogojiii, The New York Times, The Guardian and Leica Fotografie International. In 2015 Andile showed at the 18th Internationale Schillertage Festival (Mannheim, Germany) and the Lagos Photo Festival. In 2016 he participated in two group exhibitions; Fashion Cities Africa at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery (UK) and Find Us On The Map at Rush Arts Gallery (New York). Most recently, Andile collaborated on an exhibition with Naohiro Harada at Totodo Books in Tokyo and was selected as one of Adobe’s 10 Rising Stars in photography internationally.