You won’t always know the answers to the questions that might come up when you are looking at art. So where can you try to find those answers? Research is sometimes a bit like detective work. Use books and the Internet to hunt and find, and some answers lead to even more questions.
On the page ‘protesting against injustice’ is a timeline of some important dates in apartheid history. Use it as a reminder of what was going on in our country as you discuss the artworks later in this chapter.
Steve Biko was the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa, and a beloved hero to many in the struggle against apartheid. While still a young man, he died in prison after mistreatment by his captors. On 14 September 1977, then Minister of Justice Jimmy Kruger, addressing a National Party Congress about Biko’s death, said: “Dit laat my koud (It leaves me cold).”
Talk About This
Let’s talk about this
On the next few pages are a small selection of images by different artists and photographers, depicting some aspects of life under apartheid. Let’s look more closely at some of these images.
What is happening in each image – and why?
Look at the setting, or surroundings. What might these reveal about the people that live there? How does the artist place the figures in the space?
Look at the details (of objects, for instance) in each of the pictures. What do they tell us? What is their story?
How have colour, line, tone or shape, been used to tell the story?
David Mogano (1932-2000) Alexandra Township Close to Anarchy, 1993, watercolour, 102 x 64 cm. Johannesburg Art Gallery Collection.