Sankatan – the Saviour of Soweto – 2013
Oil on canvas – 75.5 x 121.5cm
Painting of a mythic Black Jesus of Soweto, a deity hero and the inferred saviour of all South Africa. In the tradition of the martyr John the Baptist but as a severed head on a drum on a drum.
Post 1994 South Africa is fraught with complexities. While having one of the most progressive and democratic constitutions in the world, the country is riven with political corruption and un-assuaged greed and is on the verge of being declared a failed State. While the fat cats get fatter the people suffer untold misery, with average living conditions little changed since the draconian period of Apartheid rule.
The use of a Makonde Mapiko full head mask as a symbolic prop traditionally served to ritualistically express the Makonde moral code. (the Makonde are a major Mozambican tribal group well known for their prowess as wood carvers) . Sankatan symbolically embodies the moral aspirations of the peoples of South Africa.
The addition of designer sunglasses is a reference to the contemporary.