Public Art in South Africa

Bronze Warriors and Plastic Presidents

Edited by Kim Miller and Brenda Schmahmann

Contributions by Gary Baines, Leora Farber, Shannen Hill, Duane Jethro, Elizabeth Rankin, Naomi Roux, Matthew Ryan Smith, Kylie Thomas, Liese Van Der Watt, Karen Von Veh and Gavin Younge

Published by: Indiana University Press

358 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in, 58 b&w illus.

  • Paperback
  • 9780253029928
  • Published: October 2017


  • Hardcover
  • 9780253029591
  • Published: October 2017


  • eBook
  • 9780253030108
  • Published: October 2017


How does South Africa deal with 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 explore how works in the public domain in South Africa serve as a forum in which important debates about race, gender, identity and nationhood play out. Examining statues and memorials as well as performance, billboards, and other temporal modes of communication, the authors of these essays consider 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.