To Everything There Is a Season & Turn Turn Turn
This pair of photographs are not necessarily a diptych, but are certainly sisters. Their titles are both drawn from the song title Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season), a folk-melody rearranged and popularized by American songwriter Pete Seeger. Written in the late 1950s, the song was revisited by a number of different singers throughout the early 1960s, including Judy Collins and Marlene Dietrich, before being massively popularized by The Byrds in 1965. The lyrics - except for the title, which is repeated throughout the song, and the final two lines - consist of the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The Biblical text posits there being a time and place for all things: birth and death, laughter and sorrow, healing and killing, war and peace.
Though the song implies there's a time for all these things, Seeger was a political activist for much of his life, fighting against violence and oppression globally. Seeger's long-term commitment to fighting injustice included early vocal opposition to Apartheid in South Africa. Seeger's arrangement of We Shall Overcome became an Anti-Apartheid anthem as early as the late 1960s, and saw renewed popularity in the early 1990s, in the final years before Apartheid's defeat.
The image depicts Sibande as a worshipper in white and red, on her knees in penitence or humility within a Church of revolution. The red Sophie represents contemporary post-Apartheid South Africa, lingering with anger and rebuilding even still now. The purple Sophie depicted in the stained glass window represents revolutionary South Africa, fighting back against Apartheid, especially referential to the 'Purple Rain' protests of the late 1980s. Purple Sophie is therefore something like a Saint or perhaps even an Angel, to whom the Red Sophie bows down to, praying for strength, and perhaps forgiveness. For the relationship between the two figures, we might especially consider the song lyrics 'A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.

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Kavi Gupta Gallery
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