n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Trauma and fragilisation : Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger's artistic ethics, cultural memory, and post-apartheid South Africa

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



In this article, I argue that a consideration of South African art should have an ethical dimension, which takes into account the trauma of apartheid and the country's deep-lying legacy of race hate and discrimination. An example of how this can be achieved is provided by the work of artist, theorist and psychoanalyist, Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger. In both her artistic output and her psychoanalytic theory, Ettinger offers a model of ethically engaging with traumatic cultural memory through an encounter between artist, artwork and viewer. I use the recent example of vitriolic popular response to Brett Murray's artwork (2012) to illustrate the necessity of an ethical response to trauma in South Africa's case.

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