War, Conflict & Politics

This ongoing series examines the effects of conflict and war, and the need to bridge the divides we construct between ourselves. It all started in 2007 with a black and white painting, with one red poppy, called “lest we forget.” It evolved with variations on the theme, until a series with block patterns emerged, symbolising both chess (a war game) and the chequered flag (winner takes all.) The poppies were a reminder of the cost in human life, metal foil to denote the things one holds valuable enough to fight over and as usual, the running paint spoke of social meltdown.

The latest variant to emerge from the war series is a softer one, perhaps not so much war per-se, but any conflict or dispute, and it reminds us that there is never only one side to any story. It may look cut and dried as the parties square off across a boundary, often with obvious differences on the surface, but there is seldom one side that is all totally good, and the other totally bad. There is a need to look for common ground in order to seek a resolution to conflict.

In looking at displacement, poor education, joblessness, poverty, social and cultural divides, the prevalence of single parent families, dominance of one group over another, lack of communication and understanding, or any of the other social issues which beset this continent and this country, one eventually has to face up to our political past, and the evil perpetuated in the name of Colonialism and Apartheid. Added to this is the disappointing corruption and greed of our current Government, which is trampling on the legacy of those who fought for freedom.

One can’t really look at social issues without also looking at racism, cultural conflict, political abuse of power and the slow erosion of our hopes for a Democratic South Africa. Some of these paintings, like ‘We Lose them They Expand’, and ‘The Prodigal Son’ depict actual events from those dark apartheid years.

Lest We Forget

One of the first paintings in this series

We Lose Them, They Expand

1000 x 1000 mm oils on canvas

RESOLUTION | copyright owned by The World Bank


A work from the WAR AND CONFLICT series was purchased by the World Bank, along with publishing rights, to be used on the cover of their annual world report.

War, Conflict & Politics Gallery

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