Hanje Whitehead

Die Bystander (Mixed media, Size variable)

Die Bystander (Mixed media, Size variable)

Artist's Statement

This is a kinetic sculpture. The three objects simulating maggots (fly larvae) are the moving objects. Their movement is triggered by three sensors that are built into the base of the work. Die Bystander refers to Kitty Genovese syndrome, identified by psychologists as the condition that occurs in a group of spectators of a tragic event or emergency. The spectators do not interfere or help the victims; they simply stand and watch while someone or something is suffering or dying. I refer to this spectacle in my work in relation to the tension and aggression that is suppressed in each of us as people and as South Africans. We choose not to do anything for we, as individuals, feel that we do not want the responsibility of ‘opening a can of worms’, the can of maggots.

Artist's Biography

Born: Bloemfontein, 1985. Lives and works in Pietersburg. Received a BA(FA) from the University of Pretoria in 2007 and is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Tertiary Education at UNISA. Major exhibitions: Absa L’Atelier, Sasol New Signatures Competition Exhibition; Fried Contemporary, Pretoria; Design Indaba, Cape Town; Gordart Art Gallery, Johannesburg; Japanese Paper Art, Toronto, Canada