In my last post about the “Rainbow Nation” sculpture exhibition of 2012 that took place in the Lange Voorhout in The Hague, The Netherlands. Visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and I are checking out some of the last, and most arresting and thought provoking pieces in the exhibit.
One that made me think very hard was a Willem Boshoff piece called “Prison Sentences” which consists of polished and sandblasted Zimbabwe black granite slabs depicting the number of days that eight fellow members of the South African ANC were imprisoned, among them of course, famously, the late Nelson Mandela.
The accompanying text reads: “Boshoff endeavours with his “Prison Sentences”to make perceptible how long eight members of the ANC, who in 1964 were sentenced during the Rivonia trial, were incarcerated.
On black granite slabs that clearly resemble gravestones, he has tallied the number of days per prisoner.”
Dennis Goldberg 11 June 1964 – 28 Feb 1985 (7568 days)
Govan Mbeki 11 June 1964 — 5 November 1987 (8548 days)
Walter Sisulu: 11 June 1964 – 15 October 1989 (9269 days)
Ahmed Kathrada 11 June 1964- 18 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)
Elias Motsoaledi 11 june 1964 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)
Raymond Mhlaba 11 june 1964 – 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)
Andrew Meangeni 11 june 1964 – 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)
Nelson Mandela 11 june 1964 – 11 feb 1990 (9377 days)
I think that this work is a pertinent reminder that the freedoms of today’s South Africa were not just handed over lightly but took decades of personal sacrifice by many people to achieve. It’s also a work in progress, an unfinished diamond in the rough that whilst now roughly shaped still needs much work before it can shine in true harmony as the Rainbow Nation Nelson Mandela and his fellow campaigners believed it could one day be.
Andries Botha: “Nomkhubulwane” (Galvanised mild steel and recycled rubber tyres)
The accompanying text on the information board also tells us:”Andries Botha is very concerned with the fate of elephants, Nomkhubulwane is the Zulu goddess of rain, nature and fertility.
She can take on the guise of any animal. In Botha’s version she is an elephant, made of pieces of recycled tyres.
“Seeing pink elephants”is an English expression relating relating to hallucinations brought about by drunkenness.
The pink elephant in question is seen coming out of a mould, which brings with it the impression that elephants are products that are easy to make.
Botha shows us that this way of thinking is a hallucination and that the wildlife in Africa is not something that is simply replaceable.”
Personally these are the two pieces in this exhibition that really “spoke” to me.. the choice of materials used in both was ingenious, the subject matter was thought provoking and both left a lasting impression. The annual summer sculpture exhibition in the Lange Voorhout has never disappointed me yet, and but with pieces like these I think that 2012 will be a difficult year to beat. So… Nomkhubulwane, that really is something to trumpet about.