Archive: Issue No. 80, April 2004

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Institution: Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art
Artist: John Muafangejo
Title: An interview of Cape Town University in 1971
Media: Linocut on paper, 34 x 40cm
Edition: 100

Background detail and personal comment:
In 1971, John Muafangejo applied to study at the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town. He was interviewed and rejected (later he was accepted by Rorke's Drift as artist-in-residence). He did, however, record the event in the form of a linocut titled An interview of Cape Town University in 1971.

In a composition reminiscent of depictions of the Last Supper, Muafangejo sits at the end of the table. He appears forlorn and unwelcome in the presence of the white academia, who stand as one in a wall of silence. Their pens are dangerously poised looking more like knives than instruments of learning.

Muafangejo places himself at the lowest level, where he immediately takes on the role of an outsider or undesirable - very much like Judas Iscariot.

Edward Lucie-Smith, writing in I was loneliness: the complete graphic works of John Muafangejo (Struik,1992), makes further observations about this work: "One print, An interview of Cape Town University in 1971, is a record of an unsuccessful confrontation with the white educational establishment. Despite the smugness of the serried white faces to which the black artist (seated modestly to one side) presents himself, the tone seems to be one of hurt rather than anger."