Series II 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: Impact on Women and Children (Series II)


This exhibition focuses on the impact of gross violations of human rights under Apartheid against women and children as specifically identified by the TRC in its two years of community hearings.  Given my interests in issues of relationship and connection I wanted to give voice to women’s and children’s individual strength and group powerlessness.  

The TRC held special hearings to induce women to come forward and tell their stories.  For a variety of socio-cultural reasons women were (and remain) extremely reluctant to voice their experiences in the struggle for liberation.  Breaking the Silence and Shall I Testify? address the efforts of the TRC and the difficulties faced by women who wanted to come forward and speak out.

Women were both targets and victims of the Apartheid regime as well as within the society at large.  Rape, Target of the Regime and Detention II deal directly with human rights violations against women.  Children became involved in the War of Liberation and their organized resistance to Apartheid provided a significant challenge to the South African government.  June 16th, 1976, Footsoldiers and Away With Afrikaans all depict some aspect of the critically important role children played.

The struggle against Apartheid had many facets and individuals and groups got caught up in it in different ways and with varying consequences.  There was inter-racial violence, inter and intra-community violence, political group violence and even intergenerational violence as children en masse defied their parents and took the struggle to the township streets.   Mothers of Ten deals with only one story of literally thousands of victims that I chose for illustrating in this exhibition.  Many assume the killing was all by whites against blacks and vice versa, but Necklacing shows that much violence was perpetrated by blacks against blacks of different tribes and/or political allegiance.

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.



Next:   View images from Impact on Women and Children (Series II)




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