Door, gold leaf
211.5 x 120 x 14 cm (base 100 x 100 x 10 cm)

On loan from the artist and Goodman Gallery.

Gerald Machona‘s artwork takes its name from an object in Arthur C. Clarke’s book, The Sentinel (1948), which became a basis for a screenplay for the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The film depicts The Monolith – a large rectangular black structure that strangely appears whenever there is a leap in human evolution. Finally, the film culminates in advanced space travel.

Migration narratives and feelings of foreignness often underpin the oeuvre of Machona’s artwork. This is perpetuated by estrangement from his home country, Zimbabwe and stories about intermittent xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Machona examines society’s contemporary issue and interrogates how historical events affect the future “in an attempt to link historic and contemporary trends of African diasporic migration on the continent”.

He addresses rhetoric used against foreign nationals such as ‘alien’, which is part of post-colonial discourse. The Monolith presents a world that is not structured around thresholds and national boundaries. It is a space where migrants or travellers are not threatened, restricted and denied legitimate access to space. There is a growing need to deconstruct nations of territory, patriotism and collective identity, as humankind evolves beyond our planet.