At the Nerve End of Our Dream

Greenwich Citizens Gallery

June – July 1990

At the Nerve End of our Dream was conceived before the momentous events of February 2nd 1990, the date on which President de Klerk announced the unbanning of liberation movements, freeing of some political prisoners and promises of further change and a negotiated settlement.

Since then At the Nerve End of our Dream has had to change drastically. The original idea was to confront the continued brutality of the situation by presenting images of a life-death struggle.

Now I have chosen to deal with relations between people in civil society, by using builder’s tools contrasting them with office workers and sweatshoppers. I want to present images that are instantly recognisable and meaningful. To contribute to a battle between meaning and fascination spearheaded by the mass media. I seek depth against the ever
present sense of surface glitter.

It is my aim in this exhibition to decolonise the wheelbarrow, scaffold clips,office chairs and spades. As a child I was made to push wheelbarrows whilst my friends played toys and cowboys, to help my father in his building trade before God invited him into his team. At school during racing competitions, I was made into a wheelbarrow in a
race we always lost and my legs would be suddenly dropped, today my toes have a distinctive character.

At a factory where he worked my uncle was constantly searched, hiw wheelbarrow turned upside down on a suspicion that he was using it to smuggle things. It was wheelbarrows he was smuggling.

As children we were not allowed to sit on chairs. As grown ups our bottoms were at the pain of imprisonment, denied the right to grace office chairs because we were At the nerve end of our dream I invade time and history, pluck a woman from a cave painting into a wheelbarrow frame for a body and a scaffold clip for head and declare her determination not to be pushed around. The warrior of the past returns as an exhaust pipe and dustbin lid. The Akuba doll (West African “fertility doll”) and feminist symbol grace office chairs to say we will not let you rest till you become human