The global award in photography and sustainability

Margaret Courtney-Clarke

Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain

Namibia is steeped in histories dating from the earliest inhabitants – Khoi, Bushmen, Herero, Namaqua, Damara et al to German occupation, to the South Africans and apartheid, and now to ‘liberation’ and statehood – a nation of diverse peoples and cultures in a vast land of seeming nothingness and unparalleled light. I seek out the traces of their passing on the land.

Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain is a record of this social process, which has always hinged on the fragility of hope.
The existential world of the people I photograph is located in an unforgiving environment where life is precarious: little or no rain, scarce water and food, people abandoned by their government and forced to migrate to flee the emptiness … Their only anchor is the expectation that life will persist
against these odds.

I keep returning to the women and men I have met, photographing them anew as they share their unfolding stories. Every form of human existence and of Nature, in its infinite variety, has wonder at its very core, and it is our ‘openness’ to the world that makes us both free to create in it and, at the same time, be responsible for our creations.

My art derives from this space, the point where freedom meets responsibility, rationality meets imagination and self meets other. This silent point is the source of all that is humanly significant.

My own motivation is to find a place here among my fellow people, building relationships over time that allow me to discover, against the seared backdrop, their hidden world of nurtured aspirations, the embodiment of hope.