|Back home there was great fanfare and false euphoria. Mandela was inaugurated to the thunder of a fly-by from the Defence Force that had once been his enemy; a new Parliament was sworn in.Monuments would go, street names change. Plans were announced for a 1995 Africus Biennale in Johannesburg - an exhibition that would prove to be an unprecedented and unwieldy showcase of contemporary South African art. The romantic in Barker decided that now might be a good time to move to an island and be a painter.|
After leaving the military, his father had become a commercial pilot and was now living and working in Mauritius, and so Barker and his semi-ex-girlfriend Kerin Tahor went to join them. He had met Tahor when she arrived in the country as an exile from the Gulf War.
"I started painting portraits because of her. I made a painting called Kerin in Exile." They broke up just before leaving South Africa. "So we divorced in paradise, you could say."
It was evident that Mauritius - between its plastic beaches and smelly curios - wasn't for him. He returned to his Johannesburg studio, just a month and a half after arriving.
The trip to Mauritius, as well as the earlier Mozambique visit, would not be wasted. Next time he showed it would be in shipping crates - and David Bowie would call him a "messy somnambulist".
|Divorce in Paradise|
Wayne Barker: Artist's Monograph