Title: Lost (detail of the front of the island of homeless people)
Materials: porcelain, wood, lead slab, found object.
Photography: Elsibe Loubser
The Eurocentric interpretation reads like an attempt to literally and figuratively looking into the ‘void’ . What does it mean when someone is homeless. The blanket refers literally to its use by homeless people on the streets of Cape Town. However, “like a warm blanket ” refers to the experience of ‘coming home ‘. Many migrants (literally millions in Cape Town) are not homeless but roofless. The feeling that you do not belong . The feeling of being lost whilst knowing where you are. This feeling is especially represented by the lone figure on the bench. Here the materials are deliberately chosen as the porcelain figures refer to the decorations that one usually finds at home. The lead slab is normally used to keep a roof waterproof.
The African interpretation reads like the experience of the Xhosa boys during their initiation rites to ‘manhood’. This ritual is spread over three months. The main elements are being circumcised and a period of seclusion. During this period the young initiates rub white clay on their naked bodies and are only covered with a blanket. At the end of this period, the blanket is put on fire, a ritual that symbolizes the burning of the past. Here the link to the porcelain figurines that arise from a piece of fabric dipped in porcelain slip which are burned during baking in the oven and only the impression of the blanket remains. The boy is now a man. Nelson Mandela underwent this initiation in 1935.