Ralph Ziman has reclaimed a Casspir armored vehicle for his work, SPOEK 1. Invented in the 1970s, the Casspir became a symbol of oppression and violence in South Africa—synonymous with the heavy hand of apartheid oppression in the townships and urban areas of South Africa. While designed originally as a military vehicle, it was used extensively against civilian populations in the 1980s. For his installation, Ziman and his team, comprising almost 100 local artists and craftsman, have covered the surface of the Casspir with elaborate, brightly-coloured panels of glass beads, arrayed in traditional patterns made by artisans from Zimbabwe and the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. With SPOEK 1 (and the larger Casspir Project), Ziman sets out to confront the past and initiate a dialogue on where we are going. SPOEK 1 has travelled throughout South Africa making stops at The South African National Gallery, Iziko Cape Town (December 2016 – March 2017); The Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg (July 2017); Everard Read Gallery – Keys Art Mile, Johannesburg (July 2017); and The Melrose Gallery, Johannesburg (September 2017), and was part of Special Projects at the fourth edition of 1-54 New York. It will be on view at Pioneer Works’ garden through the summer of 2018.

Image Credit: Katrina Sorrentino, courtesy of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.