The Johannesburg-based artist Michele Mathison makes symbolic play with the potential and the potential plenty of southern Africa. The centrepiece of Uproot, his new exhibition at the Tyburn Gallery in London is Plot, a small, but life-sized tall, crop of maize crafted in steel.
Maize is the staple food of the South Africa and, in a good year, one of its major exports. It is grown on a huge scale in the ‘Maize Triangle’ and on smaller and domestic plots. The piece is given extra, perhaps unexpected, charge though by a catastrophic drought in South Africa which has devastated the country’s maize crops. The South African government said that it will actually have to import tons of maize this year.