©︎Haroon Gunn-Salie

Haroon Gunn-Salie
Sculptural Installation, Casts and sound

Haroon Gunn-Sali was born in 1989 in Cape Town, South Africa, and is currently based between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

This work is based on an actual incident on August 16, 2012, at the British owned Lonmin mine in Marikana, northwest South Africa. Thirty-four miners who were attempting to peacefully disperse after a week-long strike for better working conditions were shot and murdered by police gunfire in an attempt to remove them. The work is based on photographs from the court records, showing the seventeen people protesting when the tragedy happened.

At the time of the incident, the executive director of Lonmin, the company that owns the mine, was South Africa's new president, Cyril Ramaphosa (in office since February 2018). Although the president apologized for his role, he was accused of encouraging police intervention to quell the strike that led to the massacre, even though he was supposed to be in a position to support the workers. The title of this piece, "Senzenina", is an anti-apartheid song meaning "What have we done" in the local language. The artist hopes to turn people's eyes to the incident in Marikana. This work earnestly questions the reality of persistent colonialism, racism, capitalism linked to power and creating various structures of domination.

(Commentary: Masashi Shiobara / Translation: Emma Tsuji Harrison)