Dear Toto

Notes from Burundi, Congo, and Malawi

Category: Art

Black Beauty

by Pádraic

Restaging classic silver screen moments

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Here Hare Here

by Pádraic

Mandela statue’s hidden rabbit catches Government on the HopNelson Mandela rabbitA new, nine-metre sculpture of Nelson Mandela, unveiled in Pretoria a day after his funeral, has a sculpted rabbit tucked inside one of the bronze ears.

The Department of Arts and Culture said it did not know the two sculptors, Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, had added a rabbit.

The newspaper Beeld quoted the artists as saying they added the rabbit as a trademark after officials would not allow them to engrave their signatures on the statue’s trousers. They also said the rabbit represented the pressure of finishing the sculpture on time because haas, the word for ‘hare’ in Afrikaans, also means ‘haste.’

Mogomotsi Mogodiri, a spokesman for the department, said in a statement that there are discussions on “how best to retain the integrity of the sculpture without causing any damage or disfigurement.”

Paul Mashatile, the arts and culture minister, said the sculptors had apologised for any offence to those who felt the rabbit was disrespectful toward the legacy of Mandela.

Dali Tambo, son of anti-apartheid figure Oliver Tambo, said he was furious when he heard about the rabbit, and said it must go.

“It’s belittling, in my opinion, if you take it in a jocular way and start adding rabbits in the ear.”

He said it would be like depicting Barack Obama with a mouse in his nose.

Tambo said the signatures of the artists, who belong to South Africa’s white Afrikaner minority, could be added on the statue in a discreet place, perhaps on Mandela’s heel.

White Priorities

by Pádraic

zapiro gays

– by Zapiro.

By Binyavanga Wanainaina:

“Nairobi is a good place to be an international correspondent. There are regular flights to the nearest genocide, and there are green lawns, tennis courts, good fawning service. You can get pork belly, and you can hire an OK pastry chef called Elijah (surname forgotten) to work in your kitchen for $300 a month.

“If you work for one of the major newspapers, or television and radio services, chances are you live in Nairobi or Johannesburg. To make your work easier, you need, in your phone, the numbers of the country directors of every European aid agency: Oxfam, Save the Children. To find these numbers is not difficult: chances are these guys are your neighbours, your tennis partners.

“If your spouse has arrived in Kenya and does not have a job, soon he or she will be fully networked and earning lots of pounds/euros/dollars, making sure the babies of Africa are safe, making sure the animals of Africa are kept safely away from Africans, making sure the African woman is kept well-shielded from the African man, making sure the genitals of Africa are swabbed, rubbered and raised into a place called awareness. Because you are a good person, who believes in multiculturalism, and that politicians are evil.

“You are a child of the human rights age. A post-cold war child. In this age, which has no ideology, brown and black places are flat issues: how far from gay freedom is (fill in African country)? In this age, all local knowledge is carried by aid organisations. These organisations speak human rights, and because they do so, we know that they are good, objective and truthful. So, if a foreign correspondent needs to know what exactly is going on in Sudan, their weekly lunch with the Oxfamy guy will identify the most urgent issues.”

Only Connect

by Pádraic

“Only Connect”

Epigraph, Howards End (1910) by E.M. Forster


Only Connect at the National Portrait Gallery, London


 ‘Only Connect’ in The Paris Review: Sadie Stein on Missed Connections


by Pádraic

Lethal Malfeasance in Malawi


Dan Morrison op-ed for The New York Times

Francis I

by Pádraic

Radical Pope, Traditional Values


Robert Calderisi for The New York Times

Three Girls

by Pádraic





Cartoons by Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant

Shadow Sculptures

by Pádraic


Sculptures by Tim Noble and Sue Webster

Rise of the Arts

by Pádraic

Rise of the Arts poster 1

25 January 2014 | Madsoc Theatre, Lilongwe

Rise of the Arts poster 2

Evolution of a Masterpiece

by Pádraic

The Raft of the Medusa | Théodore Géricault (1819)800px-JEAN_LOUIS_THÉODORE_GÉRICAULT_-_La_Balsa_de_la_Medusa_(Museo_del_Louvre,_1818-19)

The Last of the Seducer | Tom de Freston (2010)