Que Hai – Tamboetie, Tamboer, Tarentaal et al. – 2015
Oil on canvas 61 x 84cm
“Que Hai” – is an out-of-date non sequitor used in British Victorian Colonial times.
Positioned on a (precariously endangered species) Leopard skin, a regal throne-like stool forms the base for the objects in this still life arrangement, It is made the artist’s favourite African wood. It is commonly known as “Old Transvaal Stinkwood.” in Afrikaans colloquially known as Tamboetie and its technical name is Spyrostachus Africanus. A small African drum is placed upon the stool in a hieratic tiering which establishes the platform for the floating pith helmet (a ZARP – Boer Police helmet from the now defunct Transvaal, the Zuid Afrikaans Republic).
The arrangement alludes to a past age offering nostalgic colonial tidbits. Of note is the hovering helmet, a spectre, symbolizing Afrikander dominance over the African drum (the Tamboer), which, against the odds maintains its poise and aesthetic elegance. The whole, now merely an historic memory sits squarely over the skinned leopard, a martyred prince of beasts. The skin and the stool were both held in high esteem in traditional Black South African tribal customs.
In the distance a contemporary decorative Guinea Fowl (Tarentaal) made from wire and beads ostensibly watches on, a current witness to the staged panoply of past objectification.