The Blombos Ochre was recently discovered in the Blombos cave, in South Africa. With its engravings, this small stone stands as the earliest example of intentional human mark-making ever. Being the earliest proof of hominids consciously storing information outside their brains, this piece is considered the first material manifestation of culture. Our history goes from this ochre to computers... etc.
Now that archeologists are convinced that the Blombos Ochre is older than often-cited European examples, the cradle of human culture moves from Europe to South Africa. And with this, the geo-political ownership of the past.
During my visits to different natural history museums across South Africa, I encountered 4 different reproductions of The Blombos Ochre on display. All the pieces differed from each other and from the actual ochre, making evident the ‘nuances’ contained in the different narratives offered by museums in their didactic exhibitions.
THE OCHRE (2012)
Stereoviewer (mirrors, stereophotographs and hinges)
40 x 15 x 10 cm
Exhibition view at ABRIDGED, South African National Gallery, Cape Town. 2012.