“South Africa belongs to all who live in it” was the dream, but now land is the ultimate issue and the great divide. Because land defines who, what and where we are. With land we are all monarchs, without it we are serfs. This current art of mine is an expression of the riddle of the land which has to be solved somehow, for all our sakes.”
But what is the true value of land? A walk near Onrus (Unrest) brings me to a totally undeveloped stretch of coast, with a hill for a superb vantage point, an enormous Milkwood forest for a background, and pristine pool for enjoyment. I make a painting of a group of men in intense conversation – The Deal – something is going down. I paint this on a wood grain to represent the surging surf and it presages a burning bus, brick and debris-strewn, angry streets and a neighbourhood agitated by house allocation and land hunger.
In orderly shacks on the dump-top hill-top a new community gasps for life. The pool chokes. Axes and machetes thud dully in the milkwood. The forest recedes. The ‘owner’ refuses compensation.
Riddle me this; whose land is it anyway?
‘LAND’ – Exhibition at State.of.the.art, Cape Town. 11-16th February 2019.