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South African Election I

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South African Election I

Artist: Melvin Edwards (American, born 1937)

Date: 1994
Medium: Welded steel and chain
Overall: 14 x 10 x 9in. (35.6 x 25.4 x 22.9cm)
Signed: Verso, soldered: 'M Edwards / S. Africa Election / April 94'
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 96.13
Label Text
Melvin Edwards has worked on his Lynch Fragments series since 1963. These head-shaped relief sculptures are composed of chains, spikes, barbed wire, automobile parts, tools, knives, and similar items. Edwards uses these materials for their positive, as well as their negative, connotations. Barbed wire, for example, can suggest both farming and imprisonment.

Edwards says that the series is not specifically about lynching, but rather is "a metaphor for the whole struggle" for racial equality. The series also celebrates the efforts of people fighting for change: "People sacrifice to make things better."


© Melvin Edwards