Archive # 3 – 2005
Oil on canvas. 40 x 50 cm
Books have featured strongly in my artistic iconography. My reverence for the (potential) knowledge contained in books is a legacy from my father.
In this painting I have referenced the architecture of the great Zimbabwe ruins. These ruins, situated at Masvingo in Zimbabwe, constitute the most significant archaeological site of pre-colonial times south of the Sahara in Africa and are considered to be a remote outpost of the powerful kingdom of the Monomatopas. In reconstituting them as architectural structures made entirely from books I am associating and locating the collective wisdom of the ages contained in them; in the very fabric of the ruins. The books and their contents now part of the ruins are a lament on what I perceive as the rapid loss of interest in knowledge. The general and ready availability of knowledge through the internet has resulted in a distinct loss of appetite for its acquisition. Information does not equal knowledge. I genuinely fear we are entering a new dark age. This painting, one of three, is also a comment on the sad demise of the book in its traditional form being superseded by virtual books in the digital age. In these images I am combining my respect for the heritage of both Europe and Africa.