South African Spirit Coat (2001)

10 000 aluminium can tops, polyethylene fibre, beads, painted galvanised steel, pvc, cotton thread, stones
240cm x 400cm


Artist's Statement

The Coat is used here as a metaphor for protection of individuals, society, culture and history as well as a recognizable symbol of the human form. The six large works reflect my awareness of the spirit of South Africa, of Zulu culture and history, the transition from the apartheid era to post-apartheid democracy, South African news and how it impacts on our lives and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They also reflect the traditional beadwork techniques and the energy and vibrancy of Kwazulu Natal where I live.

Crucifixion, shroud, spiritual, icon, regal, inspiring. All the people who died in the struggle, ancestral spirits, Aids victims, Zulu kings, animals, floating spirits, bloodstains, ethereal, protection, armour, integration of black and white, chainmail, pelt, fur, graves, tombstones, monumental sacred site.

Ten thousand aluminium can top ring pulls collected and donated by an eleven year old boy, whose original intention was that they would be melted down to provide a wheelchair for a disabled person. This proved to be impossible. His intention as is mine is born of love.