Laurence Scully (known as Larry) spent most of his childhood in England. Although he had left school at 13 to work in a grocery shop, he was later to become the first person in South Africa to be awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree – which was on the San influence on the work of Walter Battiss.
Scully was fascinated by the images and shapes that human beings created, and he took photographs of what he saw around him all the time. Using the technology available then, he would share these visual experiences with audiences in massive multi-screen slide shows. He photographed the way miners decorated
their concrete sleeping bunks, in their mine compounds around Johannesburg, for example. He was inspired by African
masks. But, just as much, he was intrigued by the pulse of the city, its vibrant and contrasting shapes, its colour, light and dark. Scully created images of what he called “the percussive syncopation of the city” on canvas, silkscreens and in murals. He saw all of these forms in abstract terms, as interacting shapes and patterns.
“Painting is for me visual music, and visual thinking. My inspiration comes from the colours, textures, forms and light of Africa…” Larry Scully