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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.

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