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Emandulo Re-Creation

Emandulo Re-Creation, 1997 / Artist Proof Studio: Johannesburg, South Africa; Dobbin Books: NY / Collaborative edition of 30 / Mixed media & printing on commercial & Dobbin Mill papers / 10 copies comprise the deluxe portion of the edition, made by the artist, with printed case and Dobbin Mill papers

Size: 12.5” x 17.25” x 1.5” (closed)

Emandulo Re-Creation is a collaborative artist book produced in Johannesburg, South Africa. I organized this project at Artist Proof Studio, a printmaking facility set up for Black community artists. Emandulo was designed to challenge boundaries between peoples: nineteen South African artists with a range of artistic styles and demographic standing were invited to participate in this large

collaborative artist book, as well as Atta Kwami from Ghana, András Böröcz and myself, from the US. Artist Proof Studio artists functioned as the production printers under the tutelage of an invited master printer.


I intended to create a version of a printer's exquisite corpse: where body parts are made by the participants and can be re-arranged to form different configurations. The theme I chose was the creation myth (Emandulo means in Zulu in the beginning) as it seemed that a country with so many peoples would have a fascinating range of creation mythology. How life began, and the mythologies adhered to about the human life cycle are essential aspects to understanding society. And by mixing and matching sections of each artists' contribution, the book forced a mix between their concepts, creation mythology & art (& the artists), relevant actions in post-Apartheid South Africa.


Participants (in alphabetical order): Pepe Abela, Deborah Bell, Kim Berman, András Böröcz, Keith Dietrich, Gordon Gabashane, Carol Hofmeyr, Basil Jones, William Kentridge, David Koloane, Atta Kwami, Frank Ledimo, Simon Mthimkhulu, Sam Nthlengethwa, John Roome, Ruth Sack, Mmakgabo Sebedi, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Simon Stone, Grace Tshikhuve, Diane Victor & Nhlanhla Xaba.

Additional Thoughts:


The artwork in this book is astoundingly rich & complex, whether it is Frank Ledimo’s page which recalls being stopped by police (& almost killed) for ‘driving- while-black’ in his car, or Ruth Sack’s etching, which presented her immigrant grandparents’ as symbols of Adam & Eve, or Keith Dietrich, who chose to make a photo lithograph of a San couple, as the ‘first people’.


Emandulo is one of the few books I have published that paper is not an active and essential element throughout. Since we were limited to 8 days of studio time, the marathon effort precluded working out an activated substrate, except for my own creation myth contribution and the handmade papers I later made for the deluxe copies, made later after my return to the States. The handmade paper used for my page I had made in advance of the studio residency; My ‘page’ consisted of pulp images of two sets of 9 squares, made of corn husk (mealie, which is the staple food of South Africa) and a mix of lily and kapok (both plants found there).  I glued 2 of my hairs to the paper to suggest the forms of two figures.

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