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She Carries Her House
Chris Worland
East Lansing, Ingham County, Michigan
2000
Cotton, cowrie shells, buttons
20 1/4” x 24”
MSUM 2006:155.1
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

"In the summer of 1999, I traveled to South Africa. The South Africans I met were very welcoming and friendly. When they began to tell stories of living through apartheid, I was shocked by the level of violence and coercion and dismayed by my ignorance of that horrible period in South Africa's history. This quilt is my response to that trip. The pass book photo is from one I took at the Kwa Muthle Museum in Durban, [a museum devoted to telling the story of living under apartheid]. The turtle was inspired by a woodcut by Carina Minnar. The turtle represents the rights granted in the 13th clause in the South African Bill of Rights. Like the turtle who carries her house with her, South Africans are now free to reside where they please."

Under apartheid, all non-white South Africans were subjected to strict rules of segregation and limits of their rights. All non-whites had to carry a pass book which included their photograph and a statement of whether they were Indian, black, or colored (mixed race). Failure to produce a pass book on demand often led to harassment, torture, and imprisonment. The system of pass laws was finally repealed in South Africa in 1986.



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