“Big Man” by Yane Bakreski, Michelle Stewart


  • ©, Yane Bakreski and Michelle Stewart, Big Man
  • ©, Yane Bakreski and Michelle Stewart, Big Man
  • ©, Yane Bakreski and Michelle Stewart, Big Man

Artist Statement:


    The installation “Big Man” is inspired by Michelle’s PhD film, which is an animated film called “Big Man”, internationally awarded in 2016. The installation echoes the theme of the film, which is the corruption of power, both in the South African and international contexts. The inspiration for the installation came from the last scene of the animated film, which emphasizes the notion of the corrupt, laughing figure. So, this notion of the “big man”, this notion of the corruption of power is carried over to the installation. Another important thing is the underlying Biblical theme, which brings the narrative into a broader context. In the installation it is the reflection of Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement”. It has support of the underlying broader Biblical theme that is juxtaposed with the nuances of the South African context. The idea of the installation is to expose the “big man”, the corrupted laughing figure sitting on top of society, while at the same time all of the common people beneath are suffering because of the corruption, and their souls are captured in hell without having a way out. So, the installation consists of 20 screens attached on a wall (the wall of judgement) depicting these “captured souls”. On each of the screens there is a very short video loop, different close-ups of suffering bodies. The visual reference is the western wall of the Sistine Chapel and the suffering bodies from the fresco. On top of the installation is the biggest screen showing the “big man” laughing. It is again a very short loop of an animation depicting (like in a metamorphosis) the laughing face of the corrupt “big man”. The whole atmosphere is enhanced with repeating sound effects, like laughing voices, voices of suffering souls, voices from hell, and so on.


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