DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF VENDA
Murray Hofmeyr ed.
'Difference and Oppression'
BLACK ARTIST, WHITE CRITIC
IDEOLOGICAL MINDSCAPES OF OTHERNESS
by Jean-Marie Dederen
By way of introduction, Lufuno lwa Muhoyo a small carving created by Albert Munyai, contemporary artist from the Northern Province. The sculpture depicts Mandela and Buthelezi embracing each other, while concealing a pistol and small assegai behind the back. The piece was completed shortly before the first democratic elections in the mid-nineties.
I have simulated three readings of the carving in order to demonstrate how divergent and opposed meanings can be created, when the author is excluded from the process of interpretation. Which is the concern I try and address in this essay: black contemporary art, especially of the rural kind, is at the mercy of well-meaning researchers who - for a variety of reasons, interpret art works on behalf of their creators. Munyai’s view is represented in the fourth reading.