Peter Clarke (1929 - )

mixed media
50 x 35cm

He wears fabulously crafted gowns. Being the descendant of generations of men who, in their
part of the continent, had been known for their tailoring skills, it was not at all unexpected
for him to follow their profession. After all he had been the apprentice of his father, in his
day undoubtedly a master of his trade.
Inheriting the equipment of his predecessor, he measured, cut & stitched clothing for various
clients. They were always satisfied.
Naturally, when political tension in the continent ceased, he, being still young & adventurous
& curios about the world beyond the tropical city where he lived, decided to move on to a
Southern country which seemed destined to offer prosperity.
Arriving in this land he set about the task of establishing himself. This is never easy where the local
population is suspicious of you & your intentions because you are a foreigner & an outsider.
They treat you with caution, watch you & then misread the best of your intentions.
He has no alternative but to live in the ghetto with others, aliens like him, some of them legally
in the country, some illegally, others in a state of political & international limbo while waiting
for their papers. In his fabulous gowns the fabric of his life becomes folded, sometimes
intricately, sometimes crudely, & stitched up in an embroidery of generalizations. Living
in that ghetto, being Nigerian & black & always wearing colourful clothes, it is taken for
granted that he must smuggle drugs. But he does not. Of course there are bad people in
this world. But there are also people who are decent & who merely want to get on with
their lives.

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.