HALF ART: When a postcolonial hero gets the club of kultur

Business Day | Chris Thurman:


In my previous column I wrote about Mawande Ka Zenzile’s latest exhibition, Statecraft, at Cape Town’ Stevenson Gallery. Some of the works (a combination of cow dung, earth, gesso and oil on canvas) lend themselves to ready interpretation through iconographic allusions. There is one image, however, that I’m still puzzling over; its points of reference are diffuse and difficult to reconcile.

Mawande Ka Zenzile’s Destroy This Mad Brute (Caliban and Miranda): The end of an allegory. Picture: Supplied

Titled “Destroy This Mad Brute (Caliban and Miranda): The end of an allegory”, the painting is in the first instance an explicit citation of US Army enlistment propaganda from 1917. In that picture, the “mad brute”, looking like King Kong, wore a helmet labelled “militarism” and carried in his right arm the bloodied club of “kultur”. In his left arm he clutched a helpless, half-naked woman. Emerging from a body of water, behind which lay smouldering ruins, the apeman stood on a shore marked “America”…


Read full article via source: www.bdlive.co.za/life/entertainment/2015/05/08/half-art-when-a-postcolonial-hero-gets-the-club-of-kultur