To me it always seemed obvious: to take this weapon of war, this ultimate symbol of oppression and to reclaim it. To own it, make it African, make it beautiful. Make it shine, yes. And to make it seen and make it felt. It’s hard to explain what I mean. But there’s a line from a Rolling Stones song that goes: “I see a rainbow and I want to paint it black...” I understand that compulsion, but for me it’s different. I don’t want to paint anything black. I just want to bead the whole f…..g world and everything in it.
Once I embarked on this course I started seeing the world in a different way... Flat surfaces to be covered by panels, anything round will be wrapped with beads and wire. Everything from an assault weapon to an armored car, a tank to an airplane, a forest of trees, a road, a house. The list goes on and on.
I am captivated by the colours, the vibrancy, the intricate detail as varied and striking as life itself. I’m dazzled by the way all of those come together as one and how the mind struggles to make sense of what the eyes are seeing. And once seen anew, what it means. I have vivid memories of the Casspirs I had seen years earlier. It was April of 1993. Chris Hani, the charismatic leader of the South African Communist Party was gunned down outside his house, in the Johannesburg suburb of Boksburg.