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Willie Bester

Artist 128

Willie Bester

Resistance Art

Willie Bester (born in 1956) is a South African struggle artist who is best known for his mixed media works that often include passages of painting that have contained strongly naturalistic elements.

Continuity is also evident in Bester’s sustained preoccupation with apartheid’s legacy, and the empathy and dignity with which he represents the dispossessed.

His unique work holds strong symbolism of his personal history, with commentary on political injustice and human rights issues of the day. He integrates recycled material and found objects into his sculptures, paintings and assemblages.

His art became a vehicle to express the inequalities that he was witness and subject to. He became an active player in the anti-Apartheid movement, expressing his political observations and ideals through an assortment of the mixed media arts.

Scouring the scrapheaps and dumping grounds around Cape town for discarded objects, Willie’s creative obsession has evolved into recycling the waste of society into a powerful and thought-provoking platform for social injustice, poverty and political oppression.

Willie sees rubbish dumps as symbols of the community in which he lives: those living in the townships are often regarded as rejects of society, yet his works prove time and again that unexpected value can be created from that which is regarded as rubbish.

"I am sometimes tempted to go to the seaside and to paint beautiful things from nature. But I do not do it because my art has to be taken as a nasty tasting medicine for awakening consciences."

“I believe that we must protest against that which is wrong. There is no form of escape; remaining apolitical is a luxury that South Africans simply cannot afford.” - Willie Bester

We live in volatile times where each person holds power of make a change. We can’t not be apolitical


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