“They are all very strong, unique and inspiring women. My aim was to emphasise the diversity and individuality of each person,” says photographer Rudi Geyser of the models for his latest project. Capturing South Afirca's adolescent's during the throes of a new subcultural movement, his series Kwaai Girls (slang translated as dope or cool), highlights some of the most exciting female identified artists making their mark in South Africa at the moment.
Take history of art graduate, Lady Skollie (Laura Windvogel) for instance. Skollie produces paint and photography projects that explore themes of gender and sexuality, as well as hosting a podcast called Kiss and Tell, in which she interviews everyone from strippers and pornstars to AIDS doctors. Or Jana (Babez) Terblanche, a self realised performance artist, social queen and self-confessed Britney Spears fanatic. Her character, Hollywood Cerise, was spawned from her experiences of being harassed on the streets of Cape Town. “She is a tall, pink, faceless body with platinum blonde locks erupting over the top of her head,” Terblanche says. “She embodies the stereotype of the ‘slutty’, available, yet anonymous woman men create to sanction their public provocations.”
Meanwhile, K_Dollahz (Kalo Canterbury) and Marchay, (two of the other women featured in Geyser's series) are challenging the concept of being queer. “Navigating your queerness within the coloured community can be quite challenging. Some of the older generation still have views heavily influenced by religion, stereotypes and prejudice,” they explain. “Luckily for us, we move in spaces where that kinda discrimination and bullshit isn’t tolerated, and we’re lucky enough to have a support base of family and brasse that don’t either. We feel quite comfortable in our social environments in terms of where we live, work and play.”
Geyser hopes to highlight the growing feminist movement in South Africa through the project, as well as telling the individual stories of these inspiring women. “My intent is for the viewer to get an insight into these supremely individual and real women,” he says. “In turn I want them to ask questions about femininity and what it means to be a woman, particularly in South Africa.”