Ek is 'n Kimberley Coloured
The often mistaken identity of Coloured people in South Africa is the predominant theme of Ek is ‘n Kimberley Coloured. Drawn from personal experience Ek is ‘n Kimberley Coloured is a humorous presentation of the ‘romantic’ but false ideas people often have about my cultural background.
‘Where are you from?’ is a question which has been posed to me (and no doubt a number of Coloured South Africans) by many people. And it is not without a certain embarrassment or disappointment that they are informed of the truth – that is: ‘Ek is ‘n Kimberley Coloured’ (I am a Coloured person from Kimberley*). Suddenly that ‘romantic’, foreign conception is brought closer to home, the enquirer placed/cornered in an uncomfortable, politically incorrect situation – which within the South African locale is a source of almost national paranoia. Ek is ‘n Kimberley Coloured questions the embarrassment and awkwardness that is attached to the Coloured identity within South Africa. An indigenous ‘otherness’ that somehow lacks the romance and appeal of foreign cultures. The manner in which people engage with, and within themselves resolve, this issue of mistaken cultural identity is of interest to me.
Each of the panels within the triptych that is Ek is ‘n Kimberley Coloured present me posing as a staged, stereotyped representative of a foreign ‘romantic’ culture. In the left panel I am ‘Brazilian’, in the centre, ‘French’, and in the right, ‘Spanish’. Each panel includes a sub-titled text element in the respective language (Portuguese, French and Spanish), and where applicable with relevant colloquial humour, translating the Afrikaans phrase: ‘Ek is ‘n Kimberley Coloured’.
* Kimberley, a town in the Northern Cape, South Africa, in which I was born
Ek is 'n Kimberley Coloured / 2007 pigment ink on cotton Baryta 3 [48 x 78 cm] edition: 5