Expatriate American photographer Roger Ballen is known for exploring the dark recesses of South Africa, and the darker recesses of his own mind, in his work. Before 1997, he shot documentary-style images of the inequality he saw when he moved to Johannesburg, but he later began to incorporate himself into the images through heavy art direction and thoughtful symbolism, starting with his 2001 photo book Outland. His style is chaotic, rejoicing in grime and dirt, straying as far away from upper middle class normalcy as possible. In 2012, he directed South African Zef rap duo Die Antwoord’s I Fink U Freeky, video bringing his feral fascinations into the mainstream.
Working together with their long-time artistic confidant, Roger Ballen, Yo-landi and Ninja produced imagery for a couple of skateboards which are now featured on The Skateroom, a nonprofit that collaborates with prominent artists, such as Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey, to create limited edition artwork on skateboard decks.
The series also sees Ballen pay homage to McCarthy’s Piggy – a mask that was used throughout a series of performances that McCarthy undertook between 1972 and 1983. Earlier this year, McCarthy revived Piggy for a series of skateboards also made with The Skateroom, to help fund a skate school in Johannesburg. The skateboards are sold online for prices ranging between $250 and $1,250, but 20% of those profits will be donated to Skateistan, another nonprofit that uses skateboarding and education as a means to empower youth in places like Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa.