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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Our South African Landscape-12 May 2013

Our South African Landscape-12 May 2013
1500mm x 750mm

This work was begun after the Anene Booysens case.  She was mutilated and horribly raped.  The media started highlighting the crisis of rape in South Africa and a few radio stations beeped every four minutes in representation of a rape victim.  I began wondering what so many women would look like.  How many rape victims a day if it is estimated that there is a victim every 4 minutes?  I did the calculation and came to 360 women.  I wanted to visually see how many that was, and so began this artwork.  Only the most gruesome, the most shocking and unbearable cases get media attention, all the rest go unnoticed.  My first women were cut out with incredible detail, showing muscular structure and facial details; by fifty women the detail was simplified. I was getting bored of cutting them out, but I decided to allow the process to continue.  By the end the bodies had become silhouettes; the hands and feet simplified to shapes and the bodies were just piles on my studio desk.

This is the crisis we are in in South Africa.  We do not have the ability to grasp the actual numbers nor the detail of this reality.  Whether you have been raped, know someone who has been raped or fear that one day you may be raped this is a statistic that affects every South African. 

My work is cut out of paper.  There is fragility in paper that appeals to me.  One wrong cut and I must start again.  The women are dancers, strong, muscular and feminine.  They lie in piles unrecognisable and simply silhouettes of their previous selves. One by one they fall to join the rest within the pile of abuse and rape.  To me there was no need to show them in trauma and horror as the saddest part is the loss of their strength and femininity.  I have called this work Our South African landscape 12 May 2013 as our mountains are not the beautiful Table Mountain, or Drakensberg, but rather the mountains of rape victims that are created daily in this country.  This work was completed on 12 May 2013 and therefore represents the rape victims of that day.


It has been many months, perhaps even a year that I have not been active on this blog.  This is not because I have not been active within the arts but more because I could not quite define what it is that this blog page was about. I am clearer now and have decided that this blog will be my works, my views, my thoughts relating to the visual arts. 
The nature of the art world within South Africa is a confusing space, and as a 'young' artist, there is so much to learn.  Luckily the avenues to learn are readily available and although the appearance of this art world may be pretentious, it is often the exact opposite.  Many people in this industry are very happy to talk and teach young artists about the ins and outs of the industry.  Gordon Froud is always ready to answer a question, Louise Ross, Anthea Pockroy, Gordon Massie never hesitate to advise and give their perspective on issues and topics.  This may be true, however, there are many egos to deal with and much of this is based on insecurities that come from the artists rather than the art industry. 

Sadly I have left ASSEMBLAGE, New Arc Studios and find myself questioning where exactly I will be producing my art from?  The ideas are endless, and the content overflows within my mind. Perhaps every artist needs moments of contemplation before moments of action, I do hope that this is one of those moments and will end some time soon!

The last 2 works which I have produced where difficult works to do.  I found myself becoming more fearful and more aware of potential situations where rape could happen. Producing works that deal with rape within South Africa and the quantities reminded me of the possibility of becoming just another statistic.  This is a tough world we live in and producing art that reflects its difficulties can become exhausting and disillusioning.  Dianne Victor recently spoke to the Visual Arts students at FADA and I was very interested in her reasons for producing art...she expressed that her art is often of the things, people, conditions  that repel her, she produces the works to remove them from her subconscious.  Perhaps we all do that to some degree, well except the big 5 painters that is!

So I am back, and will be blogging away...

I will post imagery of my most recent works very soon...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Digital Prints

I will now be having a limited addition of 10 digital prints per work.  Each print will be signed and printed on archival paper.  That means that it will not fade or distort for atleast 100 years. 
The digital prints will cost less thatn the original but are still classified as an artwork.

 Let me know if you are interested.  The originals as well as the prints can be posted any where in the world.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Mlungu Islands of South Africa

.The Mlungu Islands of South Africa

On a trip to Venda last year with the Honours UJ students many of my some what idealistic views on poverty, race and segregation were challenged.  We stayed with a local family for three days experiencing rural life.  The locals were so intrigued by the white students which led me to ask our host, a Venda woman, if there was any difference between me, a Jozi born UJ student, and the white American Boston students that had been there three months before us.  Her response with a small grin finding the question a little silly was 'a white is a white, you are all foreighners'  (Mlungu being the word for a white person)
I clearly felt like a foreigner there, as did the black students, but on returning to Jozi I started noticing how separated whites are from blacks, even simply by language.  I have heard so many white conversations reminiscent  of 'Die Swart Gevaar' Expressing fear of twonships, fear of too many blacks moving into white suburbia, schools becoming 'too black.' The new South Africa is wonderful as long as my white world is not compromised!

I wanted a visual representation of just how many whites there are in South Africa compared to blacks.  Based on Stats SA website I created The Mlungu islands of South Africa.  This series of works shows statistical estimations on the ratio between whites and blacks in each province.  It also expresses the 'Black Sea'  that whites only pass through if necessary to get to their 'White Islands.'

I have chosen to make these works out of beads. Beads are used by many African cultures as a method of communication.  I am expressing my thoughts via this method suggesting that perhaps if whites do not want to feel like foreigners then they should open up to the reality that they live in Africa, and maybe communicating in an African language or method is the first step to changing this.


Northern Cape

Kwa Zulu Natal



Free State

Western Cape

North West Province


Eastern Cape

Thursday, 24 May 2012



SONG OF THE PICK - 2012 - Close up
This is a reproduction of a very famous work done by Gerard Sekoto during Apartheid.  Initially I was going to repaint the work and just add in my character.  I decided not to as I believe this work is well known enough that simply using the composition was enough of a connection.  Sekoto's work was a commentary on the society of the time-the physical strength of the black worker against the economical and authoritative strength of the white employee.  I have shifted this images composition only slightly, .I have added one character; a black man.  He stands between the workers and the white man.  He directs the workers, so he has some power, but that power still falls under the economical hand of the white man.  Politically we are living in a different society to the one Sekoto depicts, but economically how much have things actually changed?

This work has been cut out of paper.  I love this process for many reasons.  In this work I love that it is black and white, there is no colour, only light and dark.  I also love the fragility of the material which relates to the content and the uncertainty of South Africa post Apartheid.  I have always been told that I see the world too black and white, I have no mid tones.  This methodology proves that the world can be seen quite clearly in only black and white.


Julius who?-1
Julius who? - 1 Close up

Julius who? - 2 Close up

Julius who? - 2 Close up

Too many missing pieces to this puzzle!

Too many missing pieces to this puzzle - close up

I am certain this is not the end of this series, as he speaks more works will come.  Do we perhaps give this man too much of our time?  I have taken the headlines of the newspaper the day after Julius Malema suggested that we put it in our archives that one day he will be the leader of the ANC.  I am almost (not completely, but almost!) certain that in the future all this will be forgotten and so will his words.  For that reason I have made artworks about it so that in the years to come we can reflect and wrack our brain about that who???

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


I could look at all 'the ugly' in this world and take my pick on subject matter.  I could show you the horrors we endure and shock you with visuals that will leave you feeling lost, hopeless and angry.  What is the point of that?  What is the point of showing what we already know; what we see every day on the news, in our lives, the stories we are told?
South Africa is a country with many problems and turmoils, as are most countries.  We live in a very visual age; we have all seen terrible wars, rape, death, disgust just by watching TV programmes!  The truth, which frustrates me with 'art to shock', is the obvious over sight that most people are good.  Most people are trying hard to raise their families, get their kids educated, be a part of their communities...
 I am tired of being shocked!
 I am tired of only being made aware of what is wrong within our society.  For these reasons I try make art that is a depiction of my existence in this world.  Art has the ability to expose the wrongs within a society, as it did, very successfully, during Apartheid.  But it also has the ability to remind us of beauty, of the wonder of being alive.  Art can inspire us by elevating the human condition.  Lots of modern art has forgotten this.
Like most of you I am sad sometimes, filled with great joy in others;  I am angry occasionally, often silly. This does not make my life 'small' or insignificant.  It may not seem dramatic... but it is my life and     so precious to me.  My life is of ultimate importance, as are all of yours!

 The language I am most fluent in is the language of art and I hope some of my works help you understand this beautiful, wonderful language!!! 


Protector - close up

The agony of life and certainty of death