The Santiago Cross - Invisible Trade



Transitional Spaces

The Atlantic Ocean is the space across which trade of goods and people, words, ideologies, plants and animals, disease and religion travelled. Yet, in the space of the sea and its representation, none of this movement can be discerned and it becomes instead a liminal space.

Re(viewing) Landscape

The land across which the artist moves is the previously British occupied territory of the Eastern Cape, a predominantly rural environment which bears the traces of its violent frontier history.

Embedding Materiality

In The Santiago Cross, art as a ‘trade’ is deliberately revealed in the images by revealing the ‘tools of my trade’. The process of production is revealed through the inclusion in the image of the ink, rollers, scissors, rags and turpentine. These objects are comparable to Velasquez’s deliberate exposure of his palette and paintbrush. The polymer material onto which the images are printed extends this concept as it was the matrix onto which the original images were painted. The dialectical relationship between the actual (the tools) and the imaginary (the depicted image) extends the gaze of the artist from behind his easel to deliberately reveal the labour of art and the fracture between the real and the illusion.


The Visitors

In 1820, the same year in which the Prado Museum opened its doors to display, amongst other treasures, Las Meninas by Velasquez, hundreds of British settlers were deposited on the South African Eastern Cape coast. This was a strategy employed by the English Empire to create a human barrier against the displaced amaXhosa. I am a descendant of those 1820 settlers, whose presence in the Eastern Cape I perceive as ‘unsettled’, a perpetual visitor whose role shifts between that of an interloper, spectator and concealer.


The History of Art Volume I-IV

The History of Art Volume I-IV mimics a Western narrative of the History of Art. In these ‘books’ the linear narrative of progression is destabilized as the ‘painting within a painting’ spills over the frame. The viewer’s complicity in ‘reading’ this history is evoked through the use of the mirror in which he/she catches glimpses of him/herself.


To fully experience this site,

please change to a larger screen.

The Santiago Cross

Available Work