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Tracey Derrick Photographer South Africa


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Biography Tracey Derrick South African Photographer

a photographer's journey

Tracey has been working full-time as a photographer since 1992, the time of South Africa’s transition to majority rule. Much of her early work related in one way or another to the achievement of democracy in Southern Africa, for example her project Side by Side (1994) in which she worked with Primrose Talakumeni and Mavis Mthandeki to document the role of women in the first democratic elections; and Still Moving (1994), in which she recorded the
hopes for peace at the time of the elections in Moçambique after many decades of oppression and civil war.

The achievement of political freedom in South Africa opened up space for Derrick and other photographers, to explore aspects of spiritual life in this country – for example in The Waters of Life (1995) - and to document aspects of experience in the sub-continent that were overlooked during the struggle for freedom: in The Red Ochre People of 1995, Derrick photographed the Himba people in Northern Namibia whose ancient lifestyle is threatened by the construction of dams; in 1997 the United Nations High Commission for Refugees commissioned Hope from Home: Refugees from Africa Living in Cape Town; and also in 1997, she created the essay Basic Necessity: Sex Workers around and about Cape Town. All of these projects took the form of exhibitions; and most were published with educational texts to reach school and community groups. While she quickly gained an international reputation with these projects, Tracey continued to hold photographic workshops throughout this period.

Recent projects, for which Tracey Derrick has achieved worldwide recognition, are Earthworks: The Lives of Farm Labourers in the Swartland and Eye Inside: Women Inmates at the Malmesbury Prison. In these projects Derrick works closely with people in her own neighbourhood, documenting the experiences of people on the margins of the new dispensation. In the Malmesbury prison project, Derrick returned to her interest in empowering her subjects to
take their own photographs and share their stories with the larger society.
She was nominated as one of the 100 contemporary photographers worldwide in the book Blink, by Phaidon Press, London and was on the show Afrika Remix that travelled the world from 2004 to 2007.

In May 2008 she was diagnosed with breast cancer while studying for a Post-grad diploma in Fine Art at Michaelis School of Fine Art. In response to her illness, she turned the camera onto herself and documented her changing identity through the breast cancer and it’s treatment. This project One in nine was on exhibition at the Association for Visual Arts, Church Street in Cape Town, October 2010. It was selected for the Grahamstown National Arts Festival Think!Fest programme, in July 2012. This has led to a nomination for the ‘International Heroes of Hope: Profiles of Courage’ programme, which exemplifies survivors missions around the survival of cancer.
Selected reviews;
* http://www.iamwomanseries.com/our-stories/episodes-1-6/episode-1-tracey-derrick/
* http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52527

She has just completed The Domino Effect, a public art project facilitated by VANSA, Visual Art Network of South Africa, on the theme 2010 Reasons to Live in a Small Town. Working with the separated past of the town Hermon – which continues to manifest in the present – Tracey and Chris Murphy in partnership with the local community staged the Hermon Domino Tournament. It was on exhibition at the Goethe-on-Main Gallery in Johannesburg, May 2011 and on The Month of Photography in Cape Town, October 2012.
Selected reviews;
* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97mZYATBLe8&feature=youtu.be