Jonathan Comerford: Self Portrait
This work, done by Comerford in 1994, depicts the first democratic elections in South Africa, and his role in them. The red cross symbolises his right to vote, and the power he as a South African citizen has. The paper hat on his head is handmade origami, and identified with a typical printer's hat. The paper boat hovering above his upturned hand brings in an element of his childhood when he used to float paper boats down the gutters and at the seaside. He is holding a printing roller in his hand, with the letters 'XYZ' engraved into it. The instrument is what he, as a printmaker, uses to create his artworks, and the letters symbolise the end of an era, with the first democratic elections. He also created a self-portrait in 1989 (he usually does one every five years) in which the letters 'ABC' were placed, symbolising the beginning of his printmaking workshop, the Hard Ground Printmakers. The Celtic knots on his waistcoat show his ancestral roots in Ireland, Scotland and North England. His wire glasses are a South African original product. Lastly, the clouds in the background are symbolic of his work as an artist.