Conceptualist, Phindile Thengeni, and myself, Lebogang Ditibane, as the photographer, have come together for an incredible online collaboration called “adidas x Abantu Bethu”. Phindile Thengeni has been doing Instabitions (Instagram exhibitions) since 2015. We are living in a digital era, where things are instant and you have the capacity to reach so many more people. Phindile imagined Instabitions because there’s no need to hire a space. Sometime last year we both hinted at working with each other but only properly discussed it in December. We decided to plan something for January, she told me that she had this idea that would be nice to shoot and this is what we created.
Phindile’s idea looks at the other side of the impact of brands and their influence on Abantu Bethu (Zulu for Our People). We look at communities and how the social pressures that exist in them work for brands. We decided to use adidas as it is an iconic brand known in South Africa.
With this direction imagine how a high schooler with money has bought the latest offerings from adidas. The kid who cannot afford the latest styles will go home to beg their parents for money. The mother or father might succumb to the pressure from the kid or even just pray to be blessed with the money to purchase the items. Some might go to the extent of stealing to get the brand. Some might find a back store selling the best looking fake there is. Some might cut out labels from old clothes and sew them onto a backpack or shirt just as their way of showing their devotion to the brand.
In Part 1 of the series, we look at a simple man, modelled by Surprise Ngwenya, from a basic background in South Africa. He goes to his ethnic church and worships his god along with the brands that he praises. Part 2 of the series, #instabition6, will be published on Instagram on the 21st of February, between 19:00 and 21:00. Follow @uphindi_wasenexdoor, @leboditibane and @rea_modisane to see the exhibition live.