According to the artist Ralph Ziman, guns have an ‘almost mythical ‘ status in South Africa. Good or bad, the AK47 has become a massive part of the culture in cities and rural area’s of Sub-Saharan Africa. As I have mentioned before, I am interested in the contrasts of Africa and in the image of the young girl from the Mursi tribe holding a gun so casually, we see an evocative example of this which is what I am hoping to express through my work. When I visited the British Museum recently, they had an example of a fake assault rifle which was made by poor road workers as an attempt to warn off potential ambushes. The fake gun was made from wood and covered in tar. This has inspired me to make my own version of a fake gun using tar amongst other materials. I have been working on gun designs to be used as a motif throughout the collection
Contrasting textures and tones are something I have been interested in over the last few projects. The research I have done on modern Africa has led me back on that path once more. In the above images (taken from the amazing photography book of Leni Riefenstahl’s photography by Taschen) we see the beautiful painted bodies of two tribes people, I really love the contrasting skin tones and how the finishes accentuate their form. Contrasts, however, have not only been skin deep throughout my research, they have been integral to many parts of it, from tribes people against city people, traditional against modern and poverty against great wealth. Africa really is a land of contrasts and so I thought it was really important to show this through my work. I have been playing around with different surface textures on recycled rubber inner tubes. Recycling has become a big part of my practice, it is also something which is prevalent in African culture. Tribe’s people are very resourceful and will use what is available to them to create beautiful adornment.