Main work: paper collage, plastic insects, wooden fly swatters, perspex cover
Frame: white brushed Meranti wood
Base: pine plywood
Dimensions 126 X 248 cm
SWAT provided the title for Willem Boshoff’s 2011 exhibition at the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg. In this work he explores global antagonism towards the facto superpower of the contemporary world, the United States of America.
The artist raises questions about an American imperialism: SWAT consists of a fragmented world map, over which a multitude of swatters, each bearing details of maps of the USA, are superimposed. Plastic insects spell out the word S-W-A-T, prompting associations with the swatting of flies, with the Swat Valley in Pakistan and with US military SWAT teams. In what he refers to as ‘a protest piece’, Boshoff reflects on wartime and the way people are treated in just as unforgiving a manner as insects.
He states that the idea for this work was first hatched in 2003 after America had invaded Iraq for harbouring weapons of mass destruction - a claim that was ultimately discredited. He explains,
“The Romans conquered Palestine, England, and the rest of Europe. The Catholic Church then supplanted the Romans, and the Vatican became the seat of power. European countries like Britain and Spain perpetuated the spirit of conquest by colonising large parts of the world. And now, the ethos of the Roman invaders has been passed on, to the Americans.”