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South Africa: The Skin Game


acrylic on canvas
102 x 70 cm 

Notes on this work

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In these new works I have tried to use slogan, image and text in ironic juxtaposition, that their combination might speak for itself, might sing, if overtones and harmonics are right, or not.

Introduction to exhibition catalogue 1974

The exhibition took place in a gallery open to all races though the only black South Africans who came were those I or my friends brought along to it. It was a puny protest and my naivety was rudely revealed when I saw with what rapidity some of the works which I had sold appeared in the London salerooms having served as a way of smuggling money into English accounts. My slogan however (and the overprinted banknotes which got me into a little trouble) did have a political afterlife. The ideas that link Skin Game to Berlin Wall were finally brought together as an emblem of schism in the Inferno. Both the institution of Apartheid and the Berlin Wall have officially disappeared by the time I write this: yet, like the mystery flower bed in 20 Sites, they have strong ghosts. Both are still part of the political fabric. 'Stone walls do not a prison make / nor iron bars a cage'. 

Works & Texts 1992, p.59