Little White Lies—SA Nationalist Ambassador 1990
Oil and acrylic on canvas with flag sticker
180 x 75 cm
SA Government funded Propaganda Advertorials,
Weekend Australian 1987–1990
In addressing a mostly Australian constituency or demographic audience, one painting /collage/ installation dealt with the South African Ambassador Mr David Tothill’s constant flow of pro – Apartheid propaganda, or what he called his fortnightly “advertorials”. He placed these half page advertisements in the Australian newspaper every fortnight. I titled the painting Little White Lies, rehashing a promotional self portrait. I placed his bust portrait which depicted him in a characteristically arrogant stance, puffing away on his Apartheid pipe in the lower portion at the bottom of the canvas with a descending cloud of dull black encaustic (wax with paint) above him. The text at the top reads: A Little White Lie; “an idiom [meaning] a small, usually harmless lie; a fib. Every little white lie you tell is still a lie and it is still meant to mislead people”.* Above this text I attached a decal of Apartheid’s South African flag. This painting became, by extension, a (mini) installation its own right. In front of the painting, similar to a collection box in a church, I placed a bespoke container with a number of David’s advertorials for the viewer to browse through.
*McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.