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Jane Alexander

Artist 22 Jane Alexander Apocalyptic Sculptures


Jane Alexander is a South African female artist and sculptor best known for her sculpture, The Butcher Boys, her response to the state of emergency in South Africa in the late 1980s.


She creates sculptures, installations, and photomontages which are based on her own perceptions of actual events, people, or social and economic issues that occur in the world around her.

Most of her pieces are based and influenced on the political and social overview of South Africa

Alexander builds her sculptures out of plaster on a variety of frameworks, adding found elements like bone or horns.


Alexander's work does not lend itself to easy interpretation but the menacing and eerie figures hold deep meaning. Her figures are characterised by their mixture of human and non-human elements and a disquieting presence creating a dehumanizing effects.


The effects of power and domination over the individual is a major theme in Alexander’s work, and has carried through much of her work, from the state-sponsored terrorism of Apartheid through to colonial and post-colonial exploitation.


However, Alexander’s work is notable for its absence of direct political signifiers – leaving it ambiguous and open for interpretation.


She deals with themes of displacement and lose working through living in post colonial Africa, the suffrage and dystopia that is the wounds of our land.



Alexander’s work is characterised by its social and political concerns, moving from the local level of the street she used to live on, through to global currents of migration and displacement. Her work is often site-specific, being designed and influenced by the locations it is shown in.


‘My themes are drawn from the relationship of individuals to hierarchies and the presence of aggression, violence, victimisation, power and subservience, and from the paradoxical relationships of these conditions to each other.‘ - Jane Alexander

I love Alexander’s work as she creates a complex world taking what she sees and metamorphosing it in sculpture. Her works are unsettling but so is the world we live in.




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