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Construction. Anyone for tennis

Stanley Pinker

This was painted at a time when South Africains were voting in a referendum in the 1980s. A daily newspaper contained a folded map of southern Africa, and I liked its tactile quality when unfolded - that was the point of departure. The irregular-shaped pieces stuck around the edge of the canvas are the provinces and voting areas of the time, cut from a plywood template of South Africa. The two highly stylised robot-like figures on the right are a woman balanced on a man's shoulders, while he in turn balances on a white tennis ball: a precarious situation. He has a racquet in one hand, and a white ball is whizzing through the air. A black tennis ball hovers over Botswana: this was a time of the 'winds of change' in the countries north of South Africa. Blind to the larger reality, some in this country were playing tennis and fiddling with borders and boundaries while Rome burned. Surrounding the canvas is sand laid down on masonite - different tones from different places. The textures of the soil resemble camouflage, or pristine earth untouched.

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