To live in Grahamstown is to live at an address of amaz!ng privilege. We’re as spoilt as passengers on a cruise ship: we just wait here drinking aloe daiquiris in the sunshine until the world of art pulls up at the door.
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However you look at it, 2015 has been a curious year so far. Not long after the Red Berets staged their version of Karate Kid in Parliament, an understudy to political activist Andile Lili splashed poo on a triumphalist bronze metaphor that, up until recently, lazed on a plinth at an eminent university.
Francois Knoetze’s ingenious Cape Mongo is a searing exploration of contemporary South Africa, offering a punch to the emotional solar plexus. I left it teary-eyed. Inside a hall tucked off Church Square – an area which most festivalgoers would otherwise have probably ignored – there are five sculptures made of trash (paper, plastic, metal and VHS tape).
Francois Knoetze’s art project, Cape Mongo, consists of a series of sculptures made out of waste, which tower over you and overwhelm like overflowing rubbish dumps in inner cities. The dog, the buck, the draping video tape film, the albatross and the overweight cockroach define the social and political burdens of South Africa which we carry, but choose to ignore. Yet, with Knoetze’s looming sculptures, he makes it unavoidable.
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