voices

 

Six burqa-clad women, wearing masks depicting powerful men, stood in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg, under the gaze of the giant statue of Madiba himself. The animated mouth of each mask was driven by a music box. Doleful melodies emanated as the women wound the keys of their masks’ music-boxes. Thus, the masks spoke on behalf of these women, as they stood in silence.

The artist did not get permission to do a performance in this public square. The boundaries of freedom of expression were tested before a statue of the champion of freedom. The videographer was not permitted to video the performance. The video camera was left on his arm and assumed to be off. Hence the unpredictability of the image.