Juan Orrantia is a Colombian artist living and working in South Africa
Juan’s story is really interesting which we discuss at length in the episode. We discuss his background in anthropology and the time he spent in different academic institutions in America, including the Hartford Program and how he made his way to South Africa. Juan is an incredibly gifted and intelligent artist and it is with great interest that he spoke with me about the crisis of anthropology and his movement toward photography through science.
We discuss among other things the idea of the documentary tradition of photography, but also the notion of rejected anthropology which felt oddly sympathetic in terms of disciplinary questions of veracity. Juan’s insight into photography and the terms and concepts that informs his practice are deep and have their precedents in both traditions and yet, both genres of study are thwarted by Juan for something more personal and historical.
Juan’s book explores his family life in South Africa and places a heavy emphasis on his daughter. Juan has questions about the world that he inhabits coming from Colombia to South Africa which include the topics of colonial history and race. Overall, the work is about love and the personification of the beauty found in our close familial environment. We speak on this and many other things in episode from making work to examining the work of other artists such as Jo Ractliffe. Please tune into this long form and special episode.