Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Harbouring Aliens

Harbouring Aliens



Artist Statement

John Roome, 2010. Harbouring Aliens, digital print on archival paper, A3 (297 x 420 mm).

Just as the Soccer World Cup was coming to an end there were reports that xenophobia was about to rear its ugly head again. Threats were made to non South Africans that, come the end of the Soccer World Cup, their houses and shops would be burnt down and their lives would be in danger. Thousands lined the roads waiting to catch buses to get away. (Fortunately the violence was not on the same scale as previously and seemed to have been brought under control).

At this time I was photographically recording the changing moods of Cape Town harbour. In one, taken at dawn, the cranes appeared as menacing, robot-like, alien beings.

Harbours are universally associated with immigration.

These threatening, alien-like machines appeared to me as metaphors for our deep- seated, irrational fear of the “other “. In my drawing I tried to express a sense of the abject, of fear, and imminent violence that seemed to be bubbling up just under the surface at a time when the world was celebrating South Africa’s spirit of hospitality and tolerance.