A saturated mustard yellow surface glistens, punctuated by gleaming circles of a similar shade. A jar brimming with nostalgic gelatinous forms lies at a half-tilt, threatening to spill over. Memorabilia from a bygone era. Fuchsia lips and the wide-eyes of a direct gaze are adorned by these scattered semi-transparent shapes. Each one slightly different, exuding an individual character. One acts as a cheeky jawbreaker, caught in the midst of porcelain teeth. Tendrils of long dark hair are tussled around shoulders of a rekindled playful innocence. A collected history of childhood captured in the face of adolescence.
Johannesburg based photographer, Marcia Elizabeth, recounts how the translucent creatures were formative icons of her childhood. Jojo’s initially emerged on the scene in the year 1999. “It was a big competition between all the kids in my school to collect these plastic blobs in either neon or transparent colors. Finding these toys were a game in themselves because they weren’t available everywhere and came in blind bags.” A similar strategy was applied to their distant, slightly more archaic cousins, marbles: “The objective of the game was for one participant to toss out his Jojo and for the other players to hit it when throwing theirs. The player who succeeded would then win the Jojo he or she successfully hit.” These tactics made for hours of competitive fun.
“As a little girl I was a part of an all girl’s scooter gang who would race up and down the streets of Nieuw Muckleneuk always on the hunt for Jojo’s and general mischief. We traded in Jojo’s and had a massive collection. Reflecting on it now, perhaps we had a syndicate running. Jojo’s though playful in nature, gave us a sense of power and credibility among the other kids in the neighborhood. It was what our street cred was measured by.” Marcia draws on this collective and personal iconography – employing visual signifiers of late-90s nostalgia to create points of accessibility in this body of photographic work.
Makeup artist and stylist – Anny Botha
Model – Nicole Sen represented by My Friend Ned