LAUNCH: Public Art In South Africa: Bronze Warriors and Plastic Presidents

How does South Africa deal with its public art from its years of colonialism and apartheid?

How does South Africa deal with its public art from its years of colonialism and apartheid? How do new monuments address fraught histories and commemorate heroes of the struggle? Across South Africa, statues commemorating figures such as Cecil Rhodes have provoked heated protests, while new works commemorating icons of the liberation struggle have also sometimes proved contentious. In this lively volume, Kim Miller, Brenda Schmahmann and an international group of contributors examine statues and memorials as well as performance, billboards, and other temporal modes of communication, considering the implications of not only the exposure, but also erasure of events and icons from the public domain. Revealing how public visual expressions articulate histories and memories, they explore how such works may serve as a forum in which tensions surrounding race, gender, identity, or nationhood play out.



Kim Miller is Associate Professor and holds the Jane Oxford Keiter Professorship of women’s and gender studies of art history at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. Miller’s scholarship, which examines the relationship between visual culture, gender and power in African arts, includes her forthcoming book, How Did They Dare? Women’s Activism and the Work of Memory in South African Commemorative Art.


Brenda Schmahmann is Professor and the South African Research Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture at the University of Johannesburg. She has written, edited and coedited a number of volumes on South African art, the most recent of which are Picturing Change: Curating Visual Culture at Post-Apartheid Universities and The Keiskamma Art Project: Restoring Hope and Livelihoods.

Guest Speaker:


Erika Doss is Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her many publications on public art and culture include Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities (1995), The Emotional Life of Contemporary Public Memorials: Towards a Theory of Temporary Memorials (2008) and Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America (2010).



978-0-2530-2992-8 £33.00* $40.00* PB – Special event-only price of R350