Jo’burg Man & Life Under Democracy

Amaler/Dudelman: Joburg Man (2000)“The creation of Jo’burg Man is the result of collaboration between photographer Dale Yudelman and artist Arlene Amaler-Raviv. It formed part of the exhibition ‘One‘ which was shown at the Association for Visual Arts in Cape Town in 2000. The general theme of the show spoke about the power of the individual.
Jo’burg Man was selected as one of twenty artworks featured in the Johannesburg Art City Project and was reproduced to billboard size for display on the side of a building in downtown Johannesburg (Main Street / cnr Simmonds). The work also forms part of many private and corporate art collections in South Africa, Europe and the United States.
In the context of South Africa’s recent history – Jo’burg Man celebrates the victory over injustices of the countries past.
‘He strides with pride across the cityscape of Johannesburg at the turn of the twentieth century. He has toiled the soil, built our city and owns his own identity – An icon of contemporary man in a free South Africa.’ – Dale Yudelman” (Quelle)

Im Nachfeld eines Gespräches mit Amaler-Raviv in ihrem Atelier schrieb ich ihr: “(…i) had doubts whether the (…) supermarket-bag, which carries the black man walking in the streets of Johannesburg, is a symbol for a commodity given back to him (- back to the person(s) who build the city).
Rather the bag has arisen (in me) the memory on one of the most symbolic ‘concessions’ of the Apartheid-regime. The Group Areas Act (1950), as you know, was to segregate people of different colours into their own residential and business areas. It said ‘disqualified persons’ could buy refreshments in restaurants or tea rooms as long as it was not necessary for them to sit down and consume the refreshments purchased. ‘What this meant in practise was that those who where not white were being given a concession: they could enter a restaurant or a tea room in suburbs and city centres designated for whites and could buy food and drink – on condition they did not try to sit down and eat on the premises. The concession would, of course, help ensure that white-owned business did not lose customers.’ (B. Pogrund, How Can Man Better Die. The Life of Robert Sobukwe, p. 72)

DY: Homeless WomanThe message within this ‘concession’ could not be clearer: we want you, black people, as cheap labour army and as customers to build up our richness – no more, no less. The bag – as a doggy bag for drinking/eating outside white areas – was/is for me a strong symbol. As it is now? The homeless woman on page 99 of the catalogue of Yale Dudelmans “Life Under Democracy” is as well allowed to buy nice western goods (e.g. cute slippers) (…).”


DY: Woman and Child

DY: Life Under Democracy

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