AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Mapping linkages between image and text : an investigation of Willem Boshoff's Bread and pebble roadmap in relation to emergent Afrikaner identities

by Adena Richardson

Institution: University of Johannesburg
Year: 2015
Keywords: Boshoff, Willem, 1951-. Bread and pebble roadmap; Afrikaners - Ethnic identity; Women - Identity; Group identity in art; Language and culture; Islam and art
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2063953
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10210/13985


In this research, I map emergent female Afrikaner identities in relation to Willem Boshoff‟s artwork Bread and Pebble Roadmap, which acts as the central focus to this study and informs my own body of practical work. In order to constitute a key to unlock questions regarding emergent female Afrikaner identities in a South African context from colonial to post-apartheid, the relationship between image and text in Bread and Pebble Roadmap is investigated. The investigation of this relationship is interwoven with a discourse of an early form of the literary tradition that has come to be known as Arabic-Afrikaans script, a term used to describe the 'literary work which is written in Afrikaans with Arabic letters' (Van Selms 1951). This study adopts a qualitative methodological approach. The research incorporates textual analysis and visual analysis. The study presents a visual semiotic analysis of Bread and Pebble Roadmap, in order to map possible links between this artwork and a literature review of an early form of Arabic-Afrikaans script, as a contextual framework in which to situate the study. Arabic- Afrikaans, in turn, acts as a link which forges a relationship between two kinds of identities: an Islamic influence on South African culture, and an Islamic influence on my life experience as an Afrikaans-speaking woman who lived in Egypt for four years. These two identities, represented by artist Lalla Essaydi in relation to an Islamic identity and artist Lizelle Kruger in relation to an Afrikaner identity, are investigated through a comparative visual analysis. The study intends to show how Essaydi and Kruger form a link with Boshoff, where each of these three artists subverts, questions, and breaks down prevailing cultural and linguistic stereotypes, and in so doing operationalises the notion of an emergent identity. Identity construction, in the context of this study, is characterised by Stuart Hall‟s (in Rutherford 1990:222) concept of identity being in a continual state of flux, identity as “a production, which is never complete; always in process and always constructed within, not outside representation”. I therefore map my Afrikaner identity, previously seen as fixed, unproblematic and in line with the national discourse under apartheid (Van Heerden 2006), but now seen as „becoming‟ and „transitioning‟, situated „betwixt and between‟ (Turner 1969). This notion informs my own practical work, which becomes visual metaphors of maps, in order to navigate a sense of self. My practical work therefore attempts to embody a temporary space of an emergent identity. I understand this in-between space (Bhabha 2004) as a liminal space, as a continuum of spaces in which my emergent female Afrikaner identity resides. An important conclusion that I make from my research is that Boshoff‟s conflation of image and text, which is consistent with Derrida‟s (1981) deconstructive strategy, unhinges the conditions of the stereotype, which conventionally privileges a dichotomy in which different polar… Advisors/Committee Members: Paton, D.M., Berman, K.S., Prof (advisor).