'Received by the tongue' 300 x 255, woodcut
|The right to freedom of expression includes freedom of the press, freedom of
information, artistic, academic and scientific research, but it excludes war propaganda, advocacy of violence and hatred. After years of being deprived of some of the most basic human rights, Philippa Hobbs says, freedom of expression is a disorientating experience - aptly indicated by the head turned upside down. Her image - conceptual, ironic and ambiguous - represents freedom of expression as a liberation but at the same time also as a pain. Like many other newly gained rights and freedoms, we have to learn how to appreciate it. "Teaching yourself that holes in our heart could be received by the tongue", is spelled out on her print. The holes in our heart are our worries and concerns, that we can now speak about freely, potentially resulting in relief or in pain. The disturbingly graphic image of the outstretched tongue literally being engraved, reminds us that the clause specifies the freedom to receive and impart information', which can be painful, and, once swallowed, might add to our troubles.
Philippa Hobbs was born in Johannesburg in 1955. She studied Fine Art at the Johannesburg College of Art, completed a post-graduate course in Printmaking at the Philadelphia College of Art in the United States, and later advanced her education at UNISA and the Technikon Witwatersrand. She has received several awards and her work has been exhibited in numerous major exhibitions nationally and internationally. Philippa Hobbs is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Technikon Witwatersrand.