The sport brings girls and young women from different backgrounds together. For the women – especially those from marginalised communities – the sport is offering a safe space where they can escape from their everyday realities. The demanding practice schedule reflects the dedication of the girls and their ability to work hard and develop new skills. The military precision used to perform the sport’s complicated routines requires stamina and discipline. The solidarity within the team boosts a sense of belonging and self-worth. While still often restricted and faced with many social challenges in their daily lives, being a ‘Drummie’ gives these girls and women an opportunity to excel.
The exhibition at the Kunsthal presents 27 powerful portraits and documentary photos. In a playful collaboration Mann lets herself be guided by how the girls and women themselves wish to present their identity; they are looking into the camera self-confidently. For the women it is a great privilege to wear the brightly coloured, bling-embellished uniforms. These striking uniforms enhance the sense of distinctiveness, pride and self-confidence. Each team has a characteristic style, and their costumes serve as visual markers for the Drummies’ solidarity. With commitment and nuance, Mann’s images convey the story of a young generation of strong and determined women.
The South African documentary and portrait photographer Alice Mann (1991) was born in Cape Town, where she studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. Growing up in a new democracy, she belongs to the post-apartheid generation. Mann currently lives in London. In her work she explores themes like the ongoing social injustice in South Africa. She strives to create images that portray her subjects in a powerful way and convey a hopeful narrative. In 2018, Mann won several awards for her series Drummies, including the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and the LensCulture Emerging Talent Award. A book about Alice Mann’s long-term photo project Drummies, published by Gost Books, will be appearing this year.
The exhibition Drummies is realised in collaboration with AFRONOVA GALLERY, and is supported by vfonds.