The Face of a Nation

CCAC #: 0490
Artwork title: The Face of a Nation
Artist(s): Garth Walker
Year made: 2004
Artwork type: Sculpture or object
Medium: Powder-coated metal (steel) lettering on the entrances to the Court building / Court signage typeface / standalone typeface
Dimensions (mm): 4000 x 4200
Source: Commissioned by the Architectural Artworks Committee as part of the building’s construction as part of a public competition.
Year acquired: 2004
Installation type: Integrated artwork
Location area: On public display

The original Constitutional Court typeface design was inspired by typographic samples found around the building site of the Constitutional Court and Hillbrow, including poetic graffiti carved onto prison cell doors by former prisoners and old government signage, representing the site’s history. Walker also drew inspiration from the handwriting of the first bench of Constitutional Court justices, that can be seen on the concrete panels that spans around the corner above the main pedestrian entrance of the Court, spelling out the core constitutional values “human dignity, freedom, and equality” in South Africa’s 11 official languages and in braille. Justice Zak Yacoob, who lost his eyesight as an infant and has never seen his own handwriting, particularly influenced the design. Outside the court, the name “Constitutional Court” is written in the 11 languages, conveying the cultural diversity of South Africa in a friendly and inclusive manner. The colours of alternating shades are drawn from the South African flag. The typeface, which is also encountered on wayfinding signage and on the justices’ nameplates in the Court, has come to be known for denoting South African constitutionalism.

CCAC 432368

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