Witness Shadow of Ubuntu

  • Witness: Shadow of UBUNTU. 

                          

    Witness consists of 11 large separate sculptural shapes. At certain and specific times, however, the viewer experiences a change in perspective: Between 10am and 11am, the sun on the artwork forms shadows on the ground that collectively form the word Ubuntu[1].

     

    The leaning of each artwork at a 30 degree angle creates a tension in the space and is significant semantically across many cultures. We lean towards each other in friendship. We lean over backwards to accommodate. The World Book Dictionary mentions inclining or bending ‘…in thought, affection, or conduct [and] to lean toward mercy…’ And, tellingly, to ‘…lean on [slang ] to put pressure or coercion on…’.

     

    Ubuntu is an Africanism which for many represents respect and generosity towards all people. Bishop Desmond Tutu refers to this as “…a sense that my humanity is bound up in your humanity… However elements of violence and pressures brought to bear on individuals who are expected to ‘act’ with Ubuntu under difficult circumstances, also emerges as a consequence of the ubuntu philosophy. Professor Eric Worby points out that the expectations of ‘ubuntu’ may also be experienced as “ ‘the burden of ubuntu’ [2](Worby 2010).

     

    The seemingly arbitrary shapes in the sculptures were initially inspired by kitchen and household implements, because people were tortured and dehumanised by the use of or denial of every day necessities. Yet it is such necessities that help to sustain us in our way of life. The individual sculptural witnesses are also representative of our diverse languages (11 official languages) and cultures, different people who collectively are witnesses to our history.

     

    [1] The shadow are readable at different times of the day depending on the site, the seasons and the weather.

     

    6 (Zelene1985: 1192).

    [2] Eric Worby’s article entitled 'Address Unknown: The Temporality of Displacement and the Ethics of Disconnection among Zimbabwean Migrants in Johannesburg', explaines that “The concept of Ubuntu, increasingly part of the official ethical discourse of law and welfare in South Africa, is usually translated as a distinctively African sense of ethical obligation to render hospitality to kin and strangers alike, and to see one’s own interests as being realised through the enhancement of the well-being of others. While the term gives expression to the desire for a normative difference (the implicit contrast is with ‘Western’ individualism), its use can easily reduce to the reinforcement of racial essentialism (Journal of Southern African Studies, 36: 2, 417 — 431. London, Routledge).

    ___

    footnotes:

     

    [1] The shadow are readable at different times of the day depending on the site, the seasons and the weather.

     

    6 (Zelene1985: 1192).

    [1] Eric Worby’s article entitled 'Address Unknown: The Temporality of Displacement and the Ethics of Disconnection among Zimbabwean Migrants in Johannesburg', explaines that “The concept of Ubuntu, increasingly part of the official ethical discourse of law and welfare in South Africa, is usually translated as a distinctively African sense of ethical obligation to render hospitality to kin and strangers alike, and to see one’s own interests as being realised through the enhancement of the well-being of others. While the term gives expression to the desire for a normative difference (the implicit contrast is with ‘Western’ individualism), its use can easily reduce to the reinforcement of racial essentialism (Journal of Southern African Studies, 36: 2, 417 — 431. London, Routledge).

Cell:       +27 82-886-7102

s2ws3w@gmail.com

Postal Address:

P.O. Box 55400

Northlands,

Johannesburg

South Africa, 2116

Susan Woolf

> Projects

> About

> Biography

> News and Media

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

©2019 by Susan Woolf. All Images are Subject to Copyright. No pictures may be used without the permission of the artist.