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Baboon Boy, 2012

About the work:

In this installation a Baboon sits atop its plinth, the Baboon is holding a hand mirror and is headless, its body a by-product of the big game hunting industry
and was sourced in South Africa. The head of this animal was taken as a trophy. The Baboon is presented on a plinth at a height that brings its shoulders
just below the shoulders of an average height person. The ape is holding an English sterling silver hand mirror marked 1894; on which is inscribed “See no Evil”
in a copperplate script referencing the heyday of colonial naturalism where specimens were procured through a variety of means and skinned, stuffed, pressed,
pinned and pickled, then catalogued by hand with fine penmanship evident. The viewer will notice where the head has been severed another mirror has been
inserted, in its centre a red LED glows. The purpose of the mirror is to transpose the viewer’s head on the ape, reminding us we share 96% of the same DNA.
The hand mirror therefore becomes an instrument of measure, via reflection, it judges all that would recognize themselves in it, self aware, self accusing,
self denying, self gratifying, self serving and self important.

Fig 1.
Fig 2.

This work references the decorative silver sculpture of a chimp studying itself in a hand mirror by French artist Maurice Guiraud-Rivière 1920 see fig 1,
and in an earlier work by Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, Monkey looking at a Mirror, (detail) painted prior to 1860, fig 2.

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