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On the line
Aline Xavier, Haroon Gunn-Salie
Artwork 2016–ongoing
Haroon Gunn-Salie and Aline Xavier's colour screen print 'On the line' depicts a pair of soccer boots suspended from a line.
Artwork: Haroon Gunn-Salie and Aline Xavier, On the line (2016–ongoing). Three-colour screen print, 60 x 42 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
Artist Aline Xavier, Haroon Gunn-Salie Title On the line Date 2016–ongoing Materials Three-colour screen print Dimensions 60 x 42 cm Credit Courtesy of the artist

This work, made in collaboration with Brazilian artist Aline Xavier, finds form in a three-colour screenprint featuring a bronze cast of football boots that she and Gunn-Salie stole off a telephone line in Brazil. For Exhibition Match '22 at A4 Arts Foundation, Gunn-Salie extended the lines on which the photographed shoes hang, drawing directly onto the wall in white paint.

“I was always raised to be an activist,” Haroon Gunn-Salie says, “born a recruit. I was raised in a military cell… That has always left me with an innate desire to want to do something, to want to keep going with a struggle that I don’t yet believe has been realised.” The child of an anti-apartheid activist and member of the ANC’s armed wing, Gunn-Salie’s work is shaped by an urgent sense of social justice and civic responsibility. With collaborative interventions and installations, he considers the country’s imperfect transition from under the long shadow of apartheid. His process is one of dialogue and exchange, collecting the oral histories that inform his artistic offerings. “How do you articulate trauma?” The artist asks. It is a question that pervades Gunn-Salie’s practice; that he might better reflect memory and mourning, might meaningfully evoke past moments of shared significance. In distilling historic events into eloquent expressions – the forced removals of District Six in the late 1960s, the Purple Rain protest in 1989, the Marikana Massacre in 2012 – he gives to communal feeling a material expression.