Sue Williamson. Better Lives, 2003. Video stills, 35 mm film transferred to DVD projection, 3 min 30 sec loop
Born in Lichfield, England in 1941. Family emigrated to South Africa in 1948. Lives and works in Cape Town.
Better Lives is a series of video and print portraits about people from other countries in Africa who come to Cape Town as refugees or migrants, fleeing war or poverty and seeking a new home for their families. Cape Town is seen as the city of opportunity at the foot of the continent, and the new arrivals add to the already rich cultural mix.
How is life for the newcomers? Do they find the stability they seek, or do job difficulties and xenophobia make them long for their old home?
The series might be seen as an update of an earlier portrait series, A Few South Africans, etched and screen-printed portraits of women in the struggle against apartheid. The subjects of Better Lives are the new South Africans, and the series refers to the classic African photographic studio format.
Six projected portraits, transferred from 35 mm film to DVD. Each film plays for three and a half minutes. Also printed as film stills, large scale digital prints.