Contempt & Contemplation

The Horse Memorial (06/04/2015-06/05/2016)

Colonial public sculptures have come under scrutiny in recent history, sparking calls for their
removal, both locally and globally. The RhodesMustFall movement successfully led to the
removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue from the University of Cape Town in April 2015, and
more recently statues were forcibly removed in the USA and UK as a result of the
BlackLivesMatter protests.

An issue with public sculpture is that it does not allow for conversation or constructive dialogue.
It’s message is fixed and exclaimed to the public whether they like it or not. Although they are
historical symbols commemorating events or figures, these sculptures also project
ideologies rooted in the past, and resists an inclusive contemporary society.

In April 2015, fueled by the RhodesMustFall movement, a group vandalised the Horse Memorial
in Gqeberha by removing the colonial soldier kneeling in front of the horse.

Contempt & Contemplation does not emphasise the colonial soldier, nor does it condone
vandalism, it rather speaks to the immensity of the period afterwards. For thirteen months
(06/04/2015-06/05/2016), as the soldier was being repaired, the Horse Memorial had a new
composition for the first time in over one hundred years. This “new” sculpture consequently
encouraged new debate, conversations and dialogues around colonial sculptural
representations in the public sphere.

This piece was created with an innovative, cross-disciplinary process of digitally sculpting,
deconstructing, and reconstructing a 42-piece 3D-printed sculpture, which was then moulded
and cast in traditional sculptural materials. This process, by its very nature, became a symbolic
interrogation of the complex layers of this and other public sculptures, confronting both the old
and new, and the consequent moments of Contempt & Contemplation.

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