This large work was painted while Noel Hodnett was "Artist in Residence" at The National Festival of the Arts in 1992. The festival is held annually in Grahamstown and has been South Africa's premiere art festival since the mid-Seventies. Situated in the heart of the primeval Albany landscape where the artist lived and worked for close on thirty years, Grahamstown is a city steeped in history. The area is surrounded by mountainous terrain that was inhabited by Middle Stone-age man. Interesting archaeological sites are scattered throughout the area and bare witness to another time. In the early part of the 19th century, British Settlers built forts all along the frontier and due to their strategic and often isolated locations, some of these forts are still in use as police out-posts to this day. Items of destruction left behind in the landscape in days gone by is central to the theme of the painting.
This work was first exhibited at Hodnett's major solo exhibition at the Standard Bank Centre Gallery in Johannesburg in November 1992.
In an introduction to the exhibition, Professor Michael Hallier wrote: "His baboon 'guards' a bush-populated river, but the revolver in his hand gives warning that nature can destroy us, and even turn against itself if not approached with reverence."
In 2000 the artist donated the work to Shamwari Game Reserve in recognition of the work being done to restore the Albany landscape to it's former glory. The painting hangs in the lounge at Riverdene Lodge.
Signed lower right. Size: 240 cm. x 200 cm. - 95 in. x 79 in.
© Copyright Noel Hodnett - All rights reserved.