Artwork by Chelsea Ingham

Chelsea Robin Ingham uses art as a platform to critically engage with identity, place and citizenship within the South African landscape and globally.

“When I was younger, my grandmother had a milk crate in her kitchen with a cushion on it which acted as her chair. When I would visit I could see her in the kitchen from the driveway, sitting on the crate smoking her cigarette. I reflected on this memory imprint and this object, realizing it is an object embedded in my everyday experience as a working-class female traveling on public transport daily. A simple milk crate, an object in relation to language and language in relation to identity. This language, my language, the Cape Vernacular Afrikaans or Kaaps, developed as a result of creolization between Dutch and several languages between the colonist and the colonized at the Cape. Intrinsically, forming the root of what is today known as standardized or ‘pure’ Afrikaans, although in truth it is creole in origin. For this reason, bringing to the forefront of my art practice through the medium of printmaking is the specific visual and textual and in so doing subverting notions of stereotypical archetypes of identity and esteeming these archetypes through object language relation and representation. This, as a result of personal lived experience. Kaaps is usually perceived as an unofficial language and lower than the ‘official’ Afrikaans. Therefore, my work attempts to challenge equally the erasure and the reification of identity formations by means of language, acknowledging its power in shaping the present”.