Coloured In: Chapter 1
‘Coloured In’ is an introspective project wherein Earl Abrahams explores the spacial and the racial segregation that was created by the passing of the Group Areas Act under the Apartheid Regime. The Act pronounced that all of-colour citizens be forced to relocate to racially predetermined areas that many refer to as ‘concentration camps’. These very camps informed Earl’s formation of identity and too imposed the oppressive ideologies prevalent throughout his formative years. Therein did he find his identity and that of his community: Coloured In.
The spacial constructs of apartheid in the City of Cape Town, the architecture and aesthetics remain much the same in the communities wherein the images are captured, namely: Manenberg, Ocean View, Bonteheuwel, Athlone and Vygieskraal. The outskirts remain, in majority, colored and black while the City Bowl and Atlantic Sea Board remain predominantly white, with rising property mark-ups guarding the maintenance of such.
Earl delves into the community in which he was raised , Bonteheuwel, to explore again ideas relating to his identity in relation to his own community and communities he has chosen to document. His intention: to unearth the struggle, resilience and fortitude of the faces with whom he spent decades before moving into the city. ‘Coloured In’ engages the personification of faces that this capitalist society has deemed redundant; faces that have character, identity and purpose. These faces live, each life bears a story and each story its individual scars.
‘Coloured In’ is part evidence of an individual colouring outside of the lines, and encouraging others to do the same. One who acknowledges, yet refuse to be consumed by inequalities of the system but chooses, through his work, to emancipate subject as well as viewer with the desire to add to the discourse of true active citizenship. To serve as a reminder to those who have fallen into systematic delusions and those who impose them: The mould will be broken.