|In 1990, at the height of the FIG's notoriety and at the invitation of the state-funded South African Association of Arts (SAAA), Barker had led a delegation of artists to Pretoria to create a show called Klapperkop. Arriving at the gallery, guests found the works covered with black cloths. The Fig, announced Barker, refused to unveil the exhibition unless the SAAA disassociate itself from politically insidious funding decisions. What had particularly irked The Fig was the apartheid state's sponsorship of a group of South African artists to show in Pinochet's Chile.|
"I met a poet who was friends with a guitarist whose hands got cut off by Pinochet's thugs. I met artists who had been blindfolded by the dictatorship - for months - and then taken out of the cells and shown the light. All these people became part of my Santiago exhibition."
Time to Love was shown outside The Laager, in a lift shaft of the museum. It included a neon "love" sign and a Hoopoo bird, newspaper headlines and, for the guitarist, a wax hand bought at the religious market in Rio, where it would have been used as an effigy to pray for healing of the body part.
From Santiago on, wax worked its way into Barker's palette with ease. It was second skin. Like the army uniforms or the white pigment of Xhosa boys undergoing initiation into manhood, wax would return frequently as an agent of transformation in Barker's later work, at times evolving into latex and even chocolate.
|The Wax Hand|
Wayne Barker: Artist's Monograph