Alice Mann further explores her ongoing interest in social grouping and the concept of ‘othering’ in contemporary society with a reflective new photo series titled (Always) wear your best on a Sunday.
After visiting the Walworth Methodist Church in the United Kingdom and engaging with the church-goers, Alice became captivated with the visually appealing African print attire they wore. Wanting to gain a better understanding of the church’s culture, she spoke to a paster who noted that many of the congregants associate Sunday services with looking their best and exhibiting their favourite pieces (often sourced from their home countries) to the broader community.
Upon closer consideration, it’s evident that the outfits represent something greater than personal appearance. They serve as a symbol allowing these individuals to be identified as members of the same group. A community who does not shy away from their African heritage, but portrays it with pride. “Working within the historical framework of visual representation of black immigrants in the UK, it was this sense of pride and self-awareness that I hoped to highlight through my images,” Alice explains. Additionally, she found that “the outfits themselves are representations of faith, a way for the congregants to ‘show worship’ or announce their dedication to God.”
Due to the level of involvement from the men and women in the photo series, the project took place on numerous occassions. Alice made use of a constructed backdrop in order to give the photographs a sense of uniformity. “This uniformity was then intended to accentuate the different outfits and personalities that were presented to me by my subjects on any given day,” says Alice, emphasising that “the apparent element of construction is significant because I want viewers to be aware that these images are performed.”
View the series below and visit www.alicemann.co.za for more.