Photograph by Angela Buckland

Norman Catherine, Speaker of the House, 1989

Canvas, metal, wire, wood and acrylic, 2415mm x 1180mm x 1225mm

Speaker of the House was made during a time of uncertainty, waiting for the birth of a new South Africa and of expectations of a new vibrant parliament of African influences as opposed to the oppressive staid conservatism of the Apartheid government. Catherine had begun making a series of small satirical sculptures of political characters in 1985/6 using discarded, squashed tin cans for faces. These sculptures incorporated the materials used by roadside artists who made toy cars and animals out of wire, wood and tin can cut-outs. The Mexican Day of the Dead curios and the work of outsider artists were also an inspiration for these works. Speaker of the House was the last and largest of this series of painted mixed media sculptures.