Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember

Polymode was approached by The Barnes Foundation to help ground and create a publication based on a very important dialogue between two of South Africa’s most important contemporary artists: one active in the struggle against apartheid; the other “born free”; both concerned with the healing power of conversation when looking upon the country’s deep divide in history and its lasting effects. 

The cover of Tell Me What You Remember is bifurcated in both of the artist’s work and bridged with the title typography, holding the two women together in balance and dialogue. Williamson’s image on the left in black and white, to allude to the past, and Kganye’s in color on the right to represent a shift in technological time. Color in the publication represents two shades of clay that is the throughline and literally grounds the works in a natural richness. To continue the concept of dialogue, the interior layouts have a two column and two plate back-and-forth as one flips from page to page. Within the essays, another reference to bridging divides, the titles and subheads are centered and cross the margin; it is within this strong centering of each artist that allows the complexity of subject matter to converse together. Body copy is set in Century Schoolbook by ParaType which was used as the body typeface on the African National Congress poster announcing the abolishment of apartheid. With this sense of historic change, the captions and notes were set in Kigelia, a pan-african sans typeface that can be used across many African languages, designed by Jamra Patel studio. And for emphasis and a sense of new energy, the headlines and display are set in Neumatic Gothic designed by South African designer Andrew Footit.

This catalogue was made to accompany the exhibition Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember which was on view at The Barnes Foundation between March 5 – May 21, 2023.