‘Sugar art’ tribute to ancestor

2011-03-14 00:00

THE exhibition “Samsara: A Continuous Pursuit” at the Tatham Art Gallery commemorating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa ends on Sunday.

Last week Mauritian-born artist and architect Doung Anwar Jahangeer spent three days at the gallery as a resident artist creating a “sugar painting”, a portrait in white and brown sugar of an ancestor.

“My father did some research in the archives in Mauritius and found my great-great-great-grandfather’s identification documents,” says Jahangeer, “and also that of his father both dating from the 1860s.”

Jahangeer’s relatives were indentured labourers en route by ship for Durban but who stopped off and stayed in Mauritius to work in the canefields on the island. “It was sugar that brought them out from India and on Mauritius they cut sugar cane,” says Jahangeer. “Their careers became their oppressor.”

Jahangeer’s great-great-great-grandfather’s name was incorrectly transcribed as J. Hangur and it is that name that heads the portrait — the letters, as written by the official, outlined with brown sugar over a base of white sugar.

The choice of sugar as the medium for the work was informed by the concept, says Jahangeer, who has lived and worked in Durban since the early 1990s.

“The work is more a cultural action rather than art,” he says. It’s content is both ironic and poignant.

Jahangeer made an enlargement of the ID document, which includes a photo of his relative, who was a teenager at the time. He then slowly sifted sugar and used tools and implements he had devised himself to gradually overlay sugar on the blow-up to create a sugar version of document. The sugar is the kind produced by Tongaat-Hulett. “That was intentional as Hulett is a company originally from Mauritius,” he says.

 

 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.