Plenty Sits Still Hunger is a Wanderer 2017 Found plastic-weave bag, custom-made tartan fabric 65 x 70 cm
The Past is a Foreign Country 2017 Found plastic-weave bag, custom-made tartan fabric 65 x 70 cm
100 RMB 2018 Hand-woven archival ink-jet prints 168 x 82.5 cm
In 2015 the Zimbabwean Minister of Finance announced that they would make the Chinese yuan their main reserve currency and legal tender after China cancelled US$40 million in debts. However this has not materialised. Currently there are nine currencies that are legal tender in Zimbabwe but 90% of transactions are in US dollars.
Patience Can Cook a Stone 2016 Zimbabwean black granite 74 x 55 x 3.5 cm
Thanks to Pro Helvetia
Clothes of the Dead White Man / Where all Problems End 2018 Unpacked bales of aid clothing, dimensions variable
Clothes donated to charity and as aid for Africa mostly end up being sold at markets there. What isn’t bought in shops is, more often than not, sold to textile merchants, who then sort, grade and export the surplus garments – converting what began as donations into tradable goods. In countries like Ghana this has come at a cost, destroying the local textile manufacturing industry.
‘There’s a moment on magic where a gift turns into a commodity. Like many used items, on the surface second-hand clothes may appear to have very little value, but through the process of sorting and transporting – turning disorderly objects into an ordered commodity – they are reproduced as retailable assets.’ Clothing Poverty by Dr Andrew Brookes
The language of second-hand markets:
- Nigeria: ‘okirika’ (bend down boutique) or even ‘London clothes’
- Ghana: ‘obroni wawu’ (clothes of the dead white man)
- Zambia: ‘salaula’ (selecting from a bale by rummaging)
- Congo: ‘sola’ (to choose)
- Zimbabwe: ‘mupedzanhamo’ (where all problems end)
Kenya & Tanzania: ‘mitumba’ (bundles) or ‘kafa ulaya’ (clothes of the dead whites)
Footprints of Illegal Border Crossings 2017 Hand-woven archival ink-jet prints
88 x 64 cm
Hole in the South Africa / Zimbabwe Border Fence 2017 Hand-woven archival ink-jet prints
88 x 64 cm
Domboremari (Green) 2016 Linocut on Zerkall Litho 300gsm Edition of 6
100 x 81 cm made with Warren Editions
The Hustle 2016 (in collaboration with Oliver Barnett)
In 2003 Eskom, South Africa’s electricity supplier launched an advertising campaign branding cable thieves “izinyoka” (the isiXhosa/isiZulu word for snake). The highly emotive TV adverts appear to be racist and seem to appeal to the superstitious nature of some Africans. Although I do not agree with some of his with his views, Gareth van Onselen writes about the campaign here: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/archive/eskom-and-the-izinyoka/
Interestingly the following year, Kwaito music star Mzekezeke released a hit song called Izinyoka, which re-appropriated the word, giving it an edgy energy. It made the izinyoka look cool and gave Mzekezeke a dangerous edge.
Some time later I stumbled across the work of Stefan Schoeman. I realised that he had a real gift for working with the plastic-flex covering that is discarded by the “izinyoka” once they have retrieved the metal from inside the cables. Stefan makes doll sculptures as well as antelope and bull heads and Rhinos out of this material. As a functioning heroin addict, Stefan is a prolific artist whose work sells well.
In this short video we weave together these different stories that all share this strange common theme.