Self portrait (2015)

Hand incised, perforated carbon paper, carbon residue.

110 x 63 cm

R 123 625

In 2014, I pursued a deep interest, researching the shadows of people that had been burned onto ruined city walls by the heat and light of the atomic blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II. Here were carbon shadows, ghosts of the past, fixed onto ruins in the present.

This research led me to the Pelindaba Atomic Research Facility north of Johannesburg, South Africa. There are rumours that the enriched uranium used for these bombs originated there. These rumours enhanced my sense of connection between South Africa, as a South African artist, and Hiroshima. I later had a dream, perhaps linked to this, in which I saw myself peeled from my own skin, as if I was discarding a burnt, blackened outer covering. This stimulated my ideas of scratching away a thin black layer from a piece of diaphanous, skin-like carbon ‘paper’ or film. The carbon paper reminded me of the burnt, soot like residue left on the walls of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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[Photographs by University of Johannesburg]