For four years I have been painting the unfolding history of my homeland, South Africa. My inspiration has been the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established in 1995 under the Chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu to examine the crimes perpetrated under apartheid between 1960 - 1994. The mandate of the TRC was not only to examine South Africa's past but to begin the process of national healing and reconciliation and thereby serve as a catalyst for peaceful coexistence under majority rule.
I conceived the paintings as a work-in-progress to be exhibited as I completed each separate aspect.
In this Special Exhibits section of the website you can find each of these four exhibits in their entirety. They are organized as follows:
I - Apartheid - The legal and geographic framework of apartheid South Africa and human rights violations - exhibited February 2000 at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, Seattle.
Apartheid deals with the foundations and layout of Apartheid and featured some of the individual stories associated with life under this regime. The artwork described some of the Apartheid's legal infrastructure and how every aspect of South African society was segregated, divided and defined by racial groupings.
II - The Impact on Women and Children - exhibited May 2000 at Seattle University, Patricia Wismer Women’s Center.
This exhibition focused specifically on the role of women in this process of collective dialogue and reconciliation. The work explored issues of connection, individual strength and group powerlessness.
Nine paintings address the social context of apartheid, the institutions and the philosophical and cultural milieu in which apartheid thrived. These paintings address the behavior of the collective as opposed to the individual which tends to be the focus of the first two exhibits.
In this final phase, eleven paintings explore the processes of seeking truth and striving towards justice and reconciliation. Since these are abstract concepts the paintings utilize shapes, color, texture and writing to evoke and explore these ideas.
Historical Background and the TRC
When South Africa had its
first all race democratic election in April 1994, it took a step toward
joining the community of democratic nations of the world. It also
took the courageous and virtually unique step to examine its own violent
past, reveal its ugly truths and move forward in a spirit of healing and
reconciliation. The leaders of the new South Africa realized there
would be no future for the country under majority rule without all its
citizens having full knowledge of their violent past.
The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act was passed
which established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and
mandated it to: