Photographer, Christopher Rimmer’s latest exhibition, Sign of Life, documents two abandoned diamond mining towns, Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay in south western Namibia; both towns are slowly being buried by the constantly shifting sands of the surrounding Namib Desert. The award winning photographer employs the town’s decaying buildings as a visual metaphor to explore the tragedy of lost significance and the ultimate futility of human endeavour.
Sign of Life opens on 29 May, 2014 at the Angela Tandori Fine Art Gallery in Melbourne, Australia.
Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay were established as a result of the discovery of diamonds in southern Namibia at the beginning of the 20th Century when the country was a German colony known as German South West Africa; as the revenue from diamond mining poured in, the colonists furnished the towns with substantial and high quality domestic, civic and commercial buildings, all constructed in the Germanic Baltic style.
The town of Kolmanskop boasted a hospital with the only x-ray machine in the Southern Hemisphere as well as a casino, gym, skittle alley and dance hall. Not to be outdone, the residents of Elizabeth Bay built their own opera house.
Namibian Department of Mines.
Eventually, what seemed like the never ending supply of diamonds was exhausted and both towns were slowly de-populated following the discovery of richer diamond deposits in the south of the country. A few straddlers remained but by 1951, both Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay were left to the restless sands of the Namib.
Sign of Life weaves a visual narrative founded on the premise that everything mankind constructs is useful for a limited amount of time only. Rimmer says it is what happens afterwards that he finds interesting both visually as a photographer and also as a psychological analogy to human existence itself.
Christopher Rimmer’s Sign of Life is a powerful body of work that expresses this duality in an elegant and graphically engaging manner.
More info: angelatandori.com
Image by: seanbee