Willie Bester: The Overhead
In Bester's house above his dining-room table is a work called "The Overhead." This name is not only literal (it is positioned over the heads of the people at the table), but also refers to the Apartheid regime and the forces that brought it about, and the way it was governed. The government "did things from the top, they always did things above people's heads," Bester explains. "The comfort they always hinged on was the military, and here the military is in the driving seat." An animal skull wearing a dark green army helmet represents the military. The jaws are long and strong, showing the dehumanisation of the police and the army, who gave strength to the people at the top of the government. The yoke attached to the far wall is "the yoke of oppression." This began just after 1948 when the government immediately began breaking promises it had made to the country about how it would be governed. There is a book propped up on the wall, symbolising the structure that gave power and conscience to Apartheid. It could be a bible, or an ideology. There are two little men who are guarding the book, victims of the exercise, and faceless with only barcodes to show individuality. They only carry out orders. In the centre of the work is a 'Closed' sign, showing how the government separated itself from the people of the country, hiding its mistakes.
The signs such as "No Entry" on the work show how the masses were ordered what to do by signs throughout the Apartheid era. For example, every public facility had a separate entrance for blacks, whites and 'coloureds.' The silver bucket represents how life was before Apartheid, when people were self-sustaining. There is a small television screen on one side of the structure, showing how the government controlled the country, and how it assessed all the activities going on in it.