It left him cold

Selected by David Koloane for inclusion on Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa, an important pan-African show at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1995, this is widely considered to be Nhlengethwa’s pivotal collage work. His use of collage elements is notable for its restraint, and here the exaggerated scale of Biko’s head is a DEFAMILIARISING and visually jarring tactic.

The quiet horror of the scene is emphasised by the MONOTONE PALETTE, unusual for Nhlengethwa. The use of collage here – with the presence of the apartheid police suggested and the depiction of Biko’s body as vulnerable – marks the work as an ATTENTIVE ARCHIVE, in which history is remembered and reconstituted through the collaged construction.

Artwork courtesy of Wits Art Museum.

Artwork Info

Sam Nhlengethwa

It left him cold


Colour charcoal and colour pencil on paper

69 x 93cm