About the artwork and sitter
This is a portrait of Samantha Kiley’s friend from high school, Sihle Bhebhe, but the intriguing photographic work also references the shared experience of many who leave their homelands for distant shores.
Kiley has called the work ‘Great Heart’, and says it …”represents the African red sun and a spirit/higher being that is referenced in Southern African culture.”
Sihle Bhebhe was born and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, before coming to school in Brisbane.
The artist explains: “Having grown up in Australia, there is a real disconnect with family back home and everything is told to us through storytelling. The red represents the indigenous people and the blood shed during the struggle for independence and nature.”
About the artist
Samantha Kiley grew up on the North side of Brisbane. Her photography practice explores ambiguous and unsettling subject matter. She takes inspiration from US photographer Gregory Crewdson.
“The title of this piece “Great Heart” was inspired by South Africa’s famous Zulu rock band, Savuka. A band notoriously known for it’s anti-apartheid establishment and descriptive storytelling in their songs.”
Behind the scenes
The title of this piece “Great Heart” was inspired by South Africa’s famous Zulu rock band, Savuka. A band notoriously known for it’s anti-apartheid establishment and descriptive storytelling in their songs. The shoot was initially an idea I had at Woody Point beach with Sihle that I could make fit the contemporary photography style I wanted to portray and the rest fell into place.
This piece is actually part of a series where there is a glowing red circular light floating in the air that’s lighting up her face. With red light, it can be a challenge to manipulate, calibrate and print so I worked closely with Brisbane based studio: Safa Studios with multiple test prints to get it to the finished product. For this exhibition, I really wanted to be able to show that ghostly element of the picture as well as have that solid red be the centre piece of the work.