Amid the great ambassadorial flap that greeted South Africa's return to the international cultural supermarket, more integral self-curated shows like The Laager were easily overlooked for events like Colours in Berlin in 1996. True to form Barker, one of 26 South African artists on show, decided to make full use of the cameras, big-screen monitors and big-name guests to show his work.


Coke Adds Life
"I don't particularly like politicians, but it was like a gala performance with this magnificent man who had been imprisoned for 27 years," he says of Nelson Mandela's arrival at the Berlin Kunsthalle to open Colours. Barker's work was "strategically set up" for Mandela and comprised of an installation of parts of the Coke Adds Life series.

At the time, the president was separated from Winnie Mandela and had begun to court his third wife, Graca Machel, the former first lady of Mozambique who had been widowed by a South African-engineered bomb attack on her husband, Samora Machel's aeroplane.

Now in Berlin in front of Mandela was Barker's Mozambique. There were Coca Cola logos, AK47s, a 1994 inauguration plate and - poignantly enough - a "his/hers" painting inside a big heart.


Madiba signs work
Ignoring the flotilla of bodyguards surrounding the world's most famous living leader, Barker approached Mandela and engaged him in brief conversation about the Mozambique work. "He signed a painting called 'Hope'," says Barker with a smile.

A Love Story


Wayne Barker: Artist's Monograph
Introduction
Vienna Calling
60's Suburbia
Johnny Rottenism
Anyone for Tennis?
Fourteen Days in Hell
The Bad Art Attacks
The Famous Five do Downtown
Fragments of a Murder
Have you Hugged a Fascist Today?
Landscape with Target
Blood Money
Le Monde a L'envers
Bigotry on a Stick
The Heart of Neon
Divorce in Paradise
The South African Thing
Storming the Ramparts
The Wax Hand
A Love Story
Frankfurt in Latex
The Talking Curio
Back to Basics
Dirty Laundry
A New Kind of Freedom
Biography
Photo Credits & Works