Zonnebloem renamed (2013) is a site-specific artwork by Haroon Gunn-Salie.
Executed on Sunday 17 August 2013, ‘Zonnebloem renamed’ marks the centenary of the 1913 Natives Land Act in South Africa. This short film forms part of the artist’s ongoing collaborative exhibition with District Six residents titled WITNESS.
WITNESS is a site-specific exhibition by artist Haroon Gunn-Salie which will be staged in one of the new homes in District Six on Friday 22 November 2013 from 14h00 – 17h30.
WITNESS was conducted between 2011 and 2013 and deals with still unresolved issues of forced removals and land compensation in District Six and South Africa. The exhibition occupies a home, 70 Chapel Street in phase two of the District Six redevelopment programme allocated to a family of land-restitution claimants.
District Six was a closely-knit, vibrant and multi-cultural community, forcibly removed by apartheid decree during the 1970’s from Cape Town city centre, when the area was declared ‘whites only’ under the Group Areas Act in 1968. During this time, District Six was officially renamed by the apartheid government as Zonnebloem. This renaming of the area further erased the history of the area and people from maps and public spaces.
‘Zonnebloem renamed’ is a short film, available on YouTube, shows Gunn-Salie executing series a temporary artworks by changing the ‘Zonnebloem’ roadsigns in central Cape Town to read ‘District Six’.
The artwork is self-reflexive piece with deep political intent. ‘Zonnebloem renamed’ is a brazen attempt by Gunn-Salie to change apartheid and colonial heritage that dominates peoples popular memory in Cape Town and South Africa, through artwork, social action and intervention.
Gunn-Salie is represented by the Goodman Gallery and in 2013 won a merit award in the Sasol new signatures competition. A University of Cape Town Michaelis School of Fine Art graduate created the body of artworks in collaboration with District Six residents. The exhibition engages in narrative oral history in unique manner, through a series of social sculptures and installations.
The project conducted between 2011 and 2013 sees the young artist collaborating with four District Six veteran residents. Participating collaborators are Ms Susan Lewis, Mrs Fasia Adams, Mr Abubaker Brown and Ms Zelda Hendricks.