Jonathan Comerford: Riding the South Easter (1994)
The work is a very large linocut. The "south easter" mentioned in the title is a local wind that blows through the Cape Town area every summer. It is nicknamed the "Cape Doctor" as the strong gusts of wind seem to clear all the garbage and pollution in the air. However, the wind is also unpleasant and almost violent. It stirs things up and keeps people inside. The work is cut showing the view from Devil's Peak, a mountain adjacent to the well-known Table Mountain in Cape Town. The view shows the Cape Flats, Table View and Gordon's Bay - all areas to the north of Cape Town. Comerford often climbs the local mountains in the vicinity of Cape Town, and sometimes feels the sensation of flying. In this work, he has figures who are flying, or trying to 'ride the South Easter.' According to Comerford, an important aspect to this work is that the people of Cape Town and South Africa must learn to ride the present, new situation in South Africa, after the change in government and all the other changes from the Apartheid government.
There are three main people in the work. The first is a man who has two wings and seems to be easily managing to fly in the wind. He is happily handling the situation. The second has lost his wings and they are flying behind him unattached. He symbolises faction fighting, with his sjambok (traditional Zulu fighting weapon) and shield. He is a member of a black Zulu tribe. The third man, wearing a business suit, is balancing on a large paper jet, with no wings at all. He is holding a briefcase which has fallen open. Inside are papers and documents that are being exposed to the wind, and being carried away. The documents he contains are about industry and its control, and about documentation of race relations and affirmative action being exposed. He is struggling to balance on the fragile paper jet, and he is wobbling, and at the same time, by exposing his papers, he is creating a wobble in society. The documents could be construed as bad, and the "Cape Doctor" is clearing them out of society. The wings in the work are analogies for the right and left political wings in South Africa, and the paper jets are simply toys Comerford used to create as a child.
Comerford did two editions of this work, each consisting of ten prints. Comerford is now going to paint the lino so that it can still be seen and enjoyed. Comerford says that all the publicity this work has achieved has resulted in many corporate buyers telling him they enjoy and appreciate the work for its technique, but still wouldn't be able to purchase the work and display it, at for example the office, because they identify too strongly with the suited businessman.