Develop - Caitlin Welch
Image: Mud Stoves
Images of electrical goods are painted crudely on an earthy pink wall. Is it a lie or a statement of aspirations? Caitlin Welch calls it false advertising because there is no power in this place. Can a bare scrap of land with grazing animals really be a community kitchen? What does the intriguing philosophical assertion on the wall in the Katete District Health Office mean and how does it promote good health?
Caitlin Welch is asking us to see and think about people and places far removed from our own lived experience. Presumably far removed from her own experience before 2011, when she went to Africa:
'… the cradle of civilization, with my camera in hand. This was where my quest to be a documentarian became very real. So many crazy, beautiful, breathtaking moments just waiting to be captured and shared'.
Caitlin Welch was greatly moved by Africa. The images and short film that make up Develop, her first solo exhibition, convey a strong sense of her experience there and engage our interest and curiosity in Tikondane, a ‘… sustainable, loving community’ in the district of Katete, in the Eastern Province of Zambia. Like people the world over the people of this community work, rest and play, but they do so in ways few of us will ever experience first hand.
The images in Develop are sensitively observed and well crafted, getting to the essence of Welch’s subjects and conveying a sense of achievement and optimism in the lives of these people. The video takes a tour of the community, examines current issues in the Katete district and looks at how people are starting to become more empowered to make change and grow with the help and framework provided by Tikondane. Welch is so committed to this organisation’s good work that money made from exhibition sales will go back to Tikondane to help further build the free community school.
We are delighted to share Caitlin Welch’s Develop with visitors to the HUW DAVIES GALLERY.