Artists | Helen Sebidi

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Helen Sebidi

1992

South Africa

Helen Sebidi  

‘In the garden of God, animals were there first – the animals taught the people in our culture we don’t say a thing straight out. If you are having a hard life you won’t call your life bad. We will go around and we will say, you are fighting with an animal and if you catch his tongue then you will come right.’

Helen Sebidi’s (1943) drawings are mass portraits of the disrupted society created by exploitative legislation which treats Africans as labour units. Sebidi’s work is quite confrontational. Every inch of the pictures’ surfaces is covered with bodies. Crammed like the life in the townships, they push and shove in the struggle to survive. There is no room to breathe here. With an enormous variety of pastels, Sebidi portraits life in daily South Africa.

Helen Sebidi links

www.hsrc.ac.za/research/np

Thami Mnyele Foundation promotes the exchange of art and culture between Africa and the Netherlands.