CCAC #: 0196
Artwork title: Humanity
Artist(s): Joseph Ndlovu
Year made: 1995
Artwork type: Textile
Medium: Handwoven fibre
Dimensions (mm): 2080 x 1865
Source: Purchased from Mona Berman, Mona Berman Gallery, Jhb using the Court's décor budget of R10,000 - first piece purchased by the Artworks Committee
Year acquired: 1995
Installation type: Movable artwork
Location area: In storage

This is the very first artwork of the Constitutional Court Art Collection (CCAC). In 1994, when the first eleven Justices were appointed to the Constitutional Court bench, Justice Albie Sachs and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro were given the portfolio of décor. They were given a minimal budget of R10,000 to decorate the temporary courtroom befitting the dignity of all people that would move through the court. They used three-quarters of the budget to commission this work. This tapestry, hand-woven by Ndlovu, stands as a testament not only to the birth of the Constitutional Court but also as an emblem of the promise of constitutional democracy in South Africa.

The work provides a visual manifestation of the Constitution's underlying principles of humanity. It is a marked departure from the law being depicted by Lady Justice, blindfolded with scales in one hand and sword in another. The artwork depicts several figures huddled together with their eyes closed, signalling impartiality towards each other and of the law, embodying the constitutional values of non-racialism and non-sexism. The warm colours and texture add to the work's welcoming nature. This work is arguably one of the sparks that prompted the establishment of the CCAC and suggests the broad aim of the Collection – to express principles of justice, equal human rights and reconciliation.

CCAC 433610

Photographer: Unrecorded
Photo copyright: Consult with CCT curatorial team

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NOTE: The process of photographing artworks in the CCAC is underway - we are currently working to improve image quality and display on the CMS but have included internal reference photos for identification purposes in the interim.