Churchill Madikida (1973)
‘Virus’ 2004


video still printed with pigment ink on fibre paper

edition of 3 and 1 AP
Churchill Madikida has become well known for his videos and related prints in which he interrogates his Xhosa heritage, and particularly the initiation rite of circumcision. Here he extends his investigations to HIV/AIDS and its devastating impact on individuals, cultures and society.

Visually this piece relates strongly to the video Blood on my hands, which was exhibited on Madikida’s solo exhibition at Michael Stevenson in May/June 2004 and on the group show Personal affects: power and poetics in contemporary South African art at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York. In the latter work, two bloodied hands are shown repeatedly washing and morphing into suggestive shapes with connotations of sexuality, birth, power and religion. In this new video, the same digital morphing technique is used to suggest the endless mutations of the AIDS virus, microscopic images of which are arrayed around the figure of the artist at the centre, and the way in which it alters the body of its human host.

Madikida was the joint recipient of the Tollman Award in 2003. He will hold his second exhibition at Michael Stevenson in late 2005.


© 2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.