Series I Introduction  



Truth & Reconciliation
Tools of the TRC
Series I Introduction
Series I Exhibition
Series II Introduction
Series II Exhibition
Series III Introduction
Series III Exhibition
Series IV Introduction
Series IV Exhibition



Building Community:  Apartheid (Series I)



In trying to grasp the individual testimonies as well as unravel the historic and legislative backdrop I felt myself immersed in the landscape of the country, which under Apartheid was like no other.  Until 1994, the entire country of South Africa and every community was carved up into separate areas by race with every activity controlled by legislation keeping the groups apart.  I have tried to convey this context in several artworks. Homelands, Black Spots and Townships show this landscape and Forced Removals refers to the social engineering and ethnic cleansing that took place to implement and enforce the policies of Apartheid.

The funeral march became a very familiar scene in so many communities wracked by killing in the War of Liberation. Funeral March is a piece commemorating all those who had to bury loved ones.  Many assume the killing was all by whites against blacks and vice versa, but Protest shows that much violence was perpetrated by blacks against blacks of different tribes and/or political allegiance.  Two pieces deal directly with victims’ stories, Stompie’s Story and Nietverdiend Ten.  These are only two examples of literally thousands of victims that I chose for illustrating in this exhibition; much of my future work will be devoted to this area. 

Coming face to face with the perpetrators remains a very difficult process.  Reading volumes of gruesome testimony day after day, left me obsessed with thoughts and images of who these people are.  I was haunted by the pain of the victims and the evil of the perpetrators.  The rest of the pieces illustrate the role of  perpetrators. 


Face to Face I-VI show my own imaginary views of these people and their emotions.  They come from a series of over 60 drawings done over an intense six week period where I drew from one male model and two female models using them as vehicles for the emotions I was thinking about and feeling while working on this material.  The drawings represent a chronicle of the expressions and range of deep emotions that haunted me as this history, in part my own, was revealed and exposed.  These images are imaginary psychological portraits of real people depicting persons who gave actual testimony under oath to the TRC.  Selected portions of testimony are used in the accompanying text for each piece.

Torture, Detention and Special Branch deal with perpetrators actions and the legal circumstances.  Veiled Secrets is a letter to the TRC by the wife of a perpetrator and reflects the range of emotions of her and countless other wives, mothers and daughters of such perpetrators.

The materials I used to make these pieces are a metaphor for some of the content of the work.
  Using mixed media and the process of collage allowed me to reflect the mélange of cultures and races, the complexity, layers and diversity of South African society.  In conceiving the works I was drawn to different techniques and materials to convey this multiplicity of perspectives and aspects of this history.  Clay pieces, all individually made and with their own unique shape, were used for peoples’ names and other data like events, dates and locations.  They are misshapen and unique like people’s lives; they are fragile and of the earth and the land.  White writing on a black ground is symbolic of white domination, and removing the paint to create the words/image is also a process metaphor.  The use of a border in many of the pieces references the boxed or contained existence separating the races.  Finally, the importance of texture and the sonorous use of color in the work reveals the prevailing mood of these tragic and tortured times.


Next:   View images from Apartheid (Series I)




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