Found objects: a brass laboratory scale with detachable front panel in a case of glass and Philippine mahogany (Shorea negrosensis), fool’s gold, sheep’s knucklebones used in African divination and a base of Partridge wood (Melittia stuhlmannii) from Mozambique.

460 mm (width); 300 mm (depth); 460 mm (height)

Exhibition record:

  • 2013 – Exhibited at the arts festival of the KLEIN KAROO NASIONALE KUNSTEFEES, Oudtshoorn, South Africa as part of the installation BIG DRUID IN HIS CUBICLE.

Tipping the Scale II

  • The casting of bones is used by healers and diviners in most traditional African societies. In order to research the actual practice, I visited different sangomas and inyangas on many occasions. The throwing of ‘bones’ is part of a performance in which the sangoma positions himself or herself opposite a ‘patient’ in need of physical, social or psychological help. Incantations are repeated throughout in a solemn voice and a bundle of Mpepo (Helichrysum odoratissimum) is burnt and inhaled whilst special substances may also be ingested. After a while the sangoma may begin to vomit and then the ‘bones’ are casts in an approximate circle.


    The bones are usually kept in a small leather pouch and although they are referred to as ‘bones’ they may consist of various personalised items such as the claw or talon of a bird or animal of prey. The bones