LANGA 2005

A socially engaged art project centered in Langa township, Cape Town, South Africa

During 2003- 2005 O’Connell undertook research in the Prado Museum in Madrid looking at Spanish interior paintings. Researching how they reflect the socio economic realities of the time. In particular she looked at the paintings by Cotan, Melendez and Velázquez amongst Dutch Masters like Vermeer.

Reflecting on the painted interiors as portals into the world of the patron. To the actual or the alluded to portrayal of wealth she then undertook a photographic project in the townships surrounding Cape Town in South Africa, focusing her attention on one township called Langa. She photographed the traces of human existence in the everyday. Looking at cooking implements, methods of food production and preservation, at the everyday foods consumed. At the local shop and butchers stall displaying a selection of sheep heads that were for sale.

The series of photographic images depicting real time freezes were selected for an exhibition by Iwona Blazwich (Director Whitechapel, London) and shown at the Crawford Municipal Gallery in Cork.