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South African photographer Paul Shiakallis recently made ” an exploration of the people and places that remind me of home”.

Life-like mannequins placed in doll houses, skins plastered and motionless awaiting a cue from the stage director to continue with their performance.
Based on his own personal reference to suburbia, Shiakallis has made it their playground. His work is an intimate allusion illustrated in landscapes illuminated by greens and blues. His is a memoir of life lived in the archetype of the American dream,white walls and pristine shrubberies that have never known the meaning of thoughtless growth in their stems, where imagination is potentially suffocated and the humble preoccupations of daily chores keep the ghosts of idealistic ambition at bay.

In “Something So Familiar”, Shiakallis narrates nuances of a blues for the lonely, characters leaning on glass panes looking in as though in silent yearning. Illustrations of a hollow yet deafening solitude soaked in blue light. Without intent the portraits seem as though frozen on a television screen, alluding to Western type ideas about self and definition as portrayed by the American media.
As the sound of the television blares, a scene of bare chested masculinity waters the lawn, the lady sits in waiting, the parked car has brought the lover home, the street lights never turned off and still the house stands haunted.

His work engages the void in human intimacy, the human inclination toward security, a life lived infront of a television screen, the suburban home.

A thoughtfully architected yet painfully romantic series of depiction and observation.

- words by mlilo mpondo


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