About the artwork
A traditional Western African sculpture figure, a major conceptual and stylistic influence in Murray’s work, is adorned with multiple Bart Simpson heads. In this satirical piece, Africa meets late 20th Century America, raising issues of Afrocentricity versus Eurocentricity, investigating notions of whiteness and blackness in a postcolonial African. Employing pop culture icons as metaphors, Murray further comments on Western consumerist culture’s idiosyncrasies and hypocrisy.
About Murray’s art:
AFRICA is a small-scale replica of the public sculpture with the same title, situated in St. George’s in Cape Town (as the overall winner of a public sculpture competition launched by the Cape Town Urban Arts Foundation, J. K. Gross Trust and the AVA in 1998). The three meters high, cast bronze sculpture created such controversy that the officials almost prevented its installation on its designated site, because of the challenging commentary it conveys about the state of the continent.
Brett Murray was born in Cape Town in 1966. He completed an MA in Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture, at the University of Stellenbosch and is credited with setting up the institution’s sculpture department. He was the recipient of 2002 Standard Bank Young Artist Award and is one of South Africa’s most established and popular artists. His work has been shown around the world and is represented in major South African collections. Murray, again, created controversy with the exhibition of the painting The Spear, which depicts President Jacob Zuma in an unexpected manner. The painting was vandalised and removed from the gallery before the exhibition came to its rightful end.
Burger, L. Smith, K & Lizamore, T. 2005. art@work. A decade and more of the Sasol art collection. Sasol limited: Johannesburg (pg. 108 – 109).
Murray, B.[Sa] Brett Murray. Biography [O] Available http://www.brettmurray.co.za/biography/.html
[Accessed 7th November 2014]
Powell, Ivor. 2002. White Like Me. Brett Murray. Standard Bank Young Artist Catalogue. Bell-Roberts Publishing: Cape Town.