Slaves Respite 2006-2007

ArtSlaves Respite 2006-2007
Painting of riempiebank in art gallery, by Victor Gordon

Slaves Respite 2006-2007

Paining of riempiebank in art gallery, by Victor Gordon

Oil on canvas
122 x 183 cm

The much esteemed South African riempiebank is usually a chair or bench strung with interlaced leather thongs. They are highly sought after by collectors of Afrikaner period furniture. Their attraction is, however, derived from their being simply designed and cheaply made to traditionally accommodate the domestic needs of slaves in the old Cape of Good Hope prior to their emancipation in 1833. These items are now considered to be a traditional part of old Cape heritage and these recently manufactured riempiebanks are located in the National Gallery of Cape Town. I have placed the riempiebank somewhat out of focus in the foreground of the image on a parquet floor. The paintings that are on the wall above and out of the picture plane are reflected in the highly polished surface of the floor. Focus and reflection are utilised metaphorically, a prompt to reconsider the function of galleries, museums and the necessity of cultural objects. Compositionally one focal point is the unusual placement of the Gallery visitor’s red thong-ed feet and lower legs placed centrally at the top of the painting.

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