Artist’s statement


The Lost Men

I have chosen this particular image from THE LOST MEN PROJECT for the Waldsee 1944 exhibition for two reasons. The first is because of the sensitivity and vulnerability of this region of my body – the solar plexus, which presents a surface for the blind embossed names of British soldiers who died in the Border Wars of South Africa. In historical records, only the names of British soldiers were recorded, with full title and rank, while the names of the Xhosa – the few that are recorded – are known simply by their first name.

For me, this says a lot about how the history of my country was recorded by those in power at the time. It talks about losses that are impossible to fathom because of the absence of other histories. It talks about “truths” and “untruths”.

I see the Waldsee postcards as tiny documents, speaking loudly and falsely of overtly personal and intimate histories, concealing darker realities unreachable and silent.



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© Paul Emmanuel 2009