Christopher Swift *

Dreamcatcher (Approx. 4,000 black condoms obtained both via the RSA/German arms deal and by the kind donation of De Waterkant Me

Dreamcatcher (Approx. 4,000 black condoms obtained both via the RSA/German arms deal and by the kind donation of De Waterkant Me

Artist's Statement

* Spier Contemporary 2010 Winner: Christopher Swift has been awarded one of the career development prizes by the Judges of the Exhibition

Dreamcatchers originate from the Native American’s Ojibwa tribe who believe that a dreamcatcher changes a child’s dreams: only the good dreams would pass through and the nightmares would be filtered out or trapped until they perished in the light of dawn. This Dreamcatcher represents the ‘nightmares’ that are prevented by responsible sex. The original black condoms used to create this installation were the result of the public relations campaign to promote the South African/German arms deal: “A German company is to build a condom factory in South Africa in exchange for a $594m contract for three German submarines.”. South Africa took charge of its German submarines in 2006 but the condoms are all that remain of the promise of a condom factory.

In Aspire I was planning a three-story structure to be built at the site of the Trojan Horse Massacre (1985) in Crossroads, Cape Town. Originally based on the Heliopolis – a Greek siege machine of war - and later on the apartheid observation structures which can still be seen at some police stations, the purpose was to raise the perspective like that of many famous tourist landmarks. In this case, the single story dimension of the township would be raised to a vantage point where Table Mountain, the Helderberg Mountains and the Trojan Horse Memorial could be seen. During the development of this work, I serendipitously came across the entire stock of the old Robben Island maximum-security fencing. The UNESCO World Heritage Site (1999) was being renovated, and the fencing was destined for a landfill in Vissershoek. Created from this fencing, this work is a metaphorical variation of the intended Aspire. The form is based on the guard towers on Robben Island while the rusted fencing represents our deepest fears and the triumph of the human spirit.

Artist's Biography

Born: Johannesburg, 1970. Lives and works in Cape Town. Received his BA(FA) from the University of Cape Town in 2009. Major exhibitions: AVA Gallery and Bell Roberts Gallery in Cape Town. Awards and scholarships: Michaelis Prize; Simon Gershwin Prize.