Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Out of my mind

How I kept these drawings for 30 years is quite surprising. Somehow they followed me when I moved out of our family house in Bonza Bay, East London, and into a flat in the city. From there I moved to another flat, then to a flat in Port Elizabeth. I got a divorce and moved to another flat, then another. I then spent two years as a correspondent for SA Morning Newspapers in London, with my stuff in storage in PE. On my return, married and with a baby, I moved into the home we still have in PE. So these drawings, done in 1980 while serving my two year-army sentence in Kimberley's 1 Intelligence Unit's media centre, have led a charmed life. Now I am happy to be able to "hang" this exhibition on the Internet, and hope people enjoy it.

I think I found this A4 page with the three songs written on it (one mis-spelt - how do you spell mis-spelt?). Anyway, there were two guys who were inseparable, one tall and thin, the other short and plump. The short guy always carried his radio around with him, so I somehow put their story into this picture.

Matters political hung heavy on me. This seems to show an aging white South African viewing winds of change sweeping through parliament. A decade later and they certainly would.

What induced this bizarre image I don't know, but it seems to speak of gluttony of the sort parodied in Monty Python's "Meaning of Life".

I missed the sea while in Kimberley, so the waves here make sense. But what of the odd dog with a hand-writing moustache?

Often I'd find paper on which someone else had doodled and work from there. A harlequin-type figure emerged here, and I added two lines from a song by arguably South Africa's greatest rock band, Freedom's Children, whose album, Astra, was a favourite growing up.

This was another case where I found a bit of paper with some thick felt-tip pen lines on it, and I used these as the basis for a strange figure of a woman.

This guy worked with me in the media centre. This isn't from life, but just a fun reflection of how he sometimes found himself of an evening, drink and smoke in hand.

So where the heck were we heading? This creation seems to reflect the sense of directionlessness many of us felt.

There is a soft, etching-like quality to the lines in this. Not sure if there is some symbolism in the yield sign.

Okay, so this hints at a sci-fi future where robots spurn out data from a printer in their chests.

There is a line in one of Bob Dylan's great songs from the mid-1960s in which he says, "walk upside down inside handcuffs". I think that, too, is how many of us felt, trapped as we were in this seemingly endless process of military commitments.

No, this is not advocating some sort of gay relationship across the colour bar. I think it shows my long-held desire to see black and white in a dialogue about our future.

This, for some reason, became a regular sort of stylised face that I drew.

That same face-type again, only here it's on a helmeted oke with a baseball bat. Note that again this is done on the back of paper already heavily scribbled on.

While not a surfer myself, I grew up in a surfing environment in Bonza Bay, and enjoyed watching surfing, while doing a fair amount of bodysurfing myself - just like my good friend Barack Obama.

A typical scene at Bonzies, with a kid making sandcastles as a surfer dude walks past with his board.

My imagination even took me to some tropical locations, where the waves were hollow, the coconut palms picturesque, and the locals like something off Easter Island.

Where I did not want SA to end up. This horror image seems to show what would have happened if, instead of negotiations, we had resorted to outright confrontation.

Well, that's about it from this brown "official-amptelik" envelope in which these pictures have lived for 30 years. This dandy seems to be saying, "cheers for now".

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