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Abel Mputing


Often, we look at images and try to determine how and why they came into being and what they mean in our immediate presentness.
And to lock their meaning and interpretation indelibly to the contemporaneous conditions of their making. But the more we look at them over time- in their afterlife- the more they reveal themselves to us anew; the more they solicit us on different levels than our initial impulsive reaction to them. And the more we discover their deep-seated significations that were not immediately evident in our ‘first looking.’ Significations that invoke in our imaginations that which is left unsaid about them. That is where the enigma of the banning of Mandela’s image lies. It lies in how its duplicitous representation rendered it as an art historical subject. As such, this essay seeks to examine why this image matters now as art as never before.

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