Mixed Media

David Jacobson: “One of my favourite characters from history, because I always resented the fact that we had to learn history about Napoleon, and we had to learn history about Britain and this kind of stuff, and at school we never really had to learn anything about Namibian history, and it isn’t true that nothing was written about it because there already were histories about it, and Witbooi was one of the characters that I always loved in the history of Namibia. First of all, because Witbooi means “white boy”, and obviously he wasn’t, and, secondly, because there was always the disparaging thing of people calling adult males “boy”, when in fact they were men and dignified. This one is the print of the “Waldau River”, now that is a very German name, because it was a German colony, and it has written on it various other things, “Nature read in tooth and claw” once again, to show you the dryness, the aridness, and it has these acetate strips that have been passed through a shredder which have printed on them “… INTERPRETATIONS OF HISTORY INTERPRETATIONS OF HISTORY …”. I found it quite extraordinary that I could print out an entire page, put it through the shredder, and it kept the lines! So if you look, you can actually read the whole thing on a lot of them. And that was sort of implicit in the piece, you can’t eradicate history, Witbooi’s history will be known – even if you put it through a shredder, it would still be there. And, once again, I’ve played with Witbooi turning into the biblical Joseph, because – except he’s got fourteen coats of many colours – the image was a black and white image, you can see what the original coat was like there, but I’ve been subsequently giving him high fashion, because now in Namibia he is entitled to wear high fashion. And he’s actually standing with his gun, as you can see in the image.”

© David Jacobson