‘Reclamation’ by Lionel Davis

under house arrest is a very traumatic experience. You’re your own jailer. At
the time, I was looking for a channel, for something to heal myself, although I
never thought of it in that way. I had an urge to become creative.’
Lionel Davis (born 1936)


Davis was born in District Six, a once diverse area of Cape Town that was
forcibly evacuated to make way for a ‘whites only’ settlement, and in 1964 he
was imprisoned on Robben Island for sabotage. In this work, the artist’s face
is partly covered by a map of District Six and one of Robben Island. The
writing on his head is in an Afrikaans dialect spoken in Cape Town, and relates
to black women trying to remove kinks in their hair to be less African and more
European or American.

cutting-edge contemporary works alongside some of the earliest examples of
human creativity in our special exhibition South Africa: the art of a nation
(27 October 2016 – 26 February 2017).

Exhibition sponsored by Betsy and Jack Ryan

Logistics partner IAG Cargo

Reclamation, 2004. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge.

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