The death in detention of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko shocked the World. The fact that Biko was beaten half to death, shackled to the back of a police Land Rover and driven naked without medical escort through the very town where Hodnett lived, affected the artist deeply. Misinformation, lies and deception on the part of the South African apartheid regime were part of daily life during that dark period in the country's history.
In this work, Hodnett has portrayed the deceased political leader with a poorly stitched autopsy scar symbolising the contempt with which Biko was treated and points directly to the State doctors who lied about Biko's injuries before and after his death. Even in death, Steven Biko seems to be peering at the world with proud and dignified defiance.
This painting is part of a suite of 4 works depicting political victims and was first exhibited at the artist's well received solo showing of "Portraits of the Forgotten" at the Britannia Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada in May 2002. This suite of 4 paintings now forms part of the permanent collection at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Signed lower right. Size: 91.5 cm. x 91.5 cm. - 36 in. x 36 in.
© Copyright Noel Hodnett - All rights reserved.