Friday, November 21, 2014

Eyewear Art Stirs Up More Controversy

“Michael Elion, the artist behind the giant Wayfarers staring at Robben Island, says he is open to the idea of his work becoming an open site of protest,” reports the Mail & Guardian. “Elion’s controversial artwork, partially sponsored by Ray-Ban eyewear manufacturer and called Perceiving Freedom, was spray-painted earlier this week as a statement against its corporate reflection. The work has been criticised on social media. The statue was positioned on the Sea Point promenade by Elion to commemorate Nelson Mandela, ‘because it would be crazy of me not to acknowledge that the device is looking at Robben Island.’ Mandela was incarcerated on the island for 18 of his 27 years as prisoner. A photograph of Mandela wearing similarly shaped glasses is positioned in the accompanying inscription. It was also stencilled with the words “Myopic Art” and images of slain Marikana miner Mgcineni Noki by the Tokolos Stencil Crew. This week, a petition calling for the artwork to be removed pending an investigation into, among other things, “how Art54 and the City of Cape Town allowed public art to function as advertising” was slowly gaining signatures. Artist Candice Breitz, who fielded a debate on the artwork on her Facebook page, was one of the 300 who had signed the petition by Wednesday.” Read more.

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