Hypersensium is presenting Sibusiso Gcaba, a Johannesburg-based photographer born in 1989. He enjoys creating images that are layered and can be interpreted in many ways.
His last collection of work "Shadow Work" is a profound documentation of the perturbations of his personal psyche depicted through his surroundings.
"It's also important to consider the native spiritual reality of native South African people that has long been suppressed, and I'm wondering what connection does that have with the current wave of what's considered to be mental illnesses locally."
In addition to his photographs, Sibusiso Gcaba presented a very detailed context of these works, and it deserves to be published. Although the series date back to 2020, the psychological mechanism he is referring to is still relevant to what is happening in many places of the world at this very moment.
"I started photographing this in 2020 during the pandemic, as a way to make sense of my surroundings. We were in deep lockdown South Africa, and our movement was heavily restricted. I felt the loss of freedom. And I got to experience and feel what I thought was an unjust and fascist global exercise of control. I was going through a phase of understanding of my own spirituality in its most intense form. This lead me to a dark mental state and It made me think of my own life experiences and traumas that I have gone through and never dealt with.
The work resurfaces dreadful life experiences that have been stored and forgotten in the subconscious. These images illustrate the after effects of experienced anguish that has become the person I am, that I consciously do not identify with.
Some of these conditions are birthed by underlying socio-economic constructs of oppression that still lingers in black communities in South Africa. These issues have lead most of young people including myself to seek reality altering alternatives like alcohol, and even strong psychedelic substances for others. Just to escape, or gain access to the alternative world. So with these images I was attempting to create what the dystopia might look and feel like.
It's also important to consider the native spiritual reality of native South African people that has long been suppressed, and I'm wondering what connection does that have with the current wave of what's considered to be mental illnesses locally. I have observed and probed if it is the environment or the spirit that needs immediate attention, and how can the two align in harmony.
In the awakening of how twisted the world is and how I'm struggling to function in it, I'm forced to look deep into my psychological make up and work with my own "spirit" to detect what the inner suffering looks like for me. With the fear that if all is left unattended my consciousness could be pushed towards self destruction.
It is said that trauma in other dimensions can be inherited or passed from generation to generation, and it is the responsibility of the enlightened to cleanse the spirit, but it starts with the self and the "shadow work". I'm using the camera as a portal to connect with what is happening in the darkness of my subconscious mind, that is with me everyday."