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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

2 - Art and Justice in Times of Transition

Summary

Chapter 2, Art and Justice in Times of Transition, sets out the theoretical framework for the book. By undertaking a close visual analysis and narrative investigation of one artwork – REwind by Gerhard Marx, Maja Marx and Philip Miller – that addresses the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I unpack four ideas which make art exigent and meaningful to transitional justice, and vice versa. These ideas are about the circulation of political sentiment, the mediation of political agency, the invitation of political encounters, and the invention of political space. I argue that an account of transitional justice without aesthetic dimensions – especially art – is insufficient. Art plays an important role in animating and activating the narratives of individuals so that they take on collective importance. In so doing, the past can be shared so that a new political future can be imagined. Artistic production becomes a radical form of political participation in times of political transition. The chapter concludes with an afterword on power, ethics, and modes of display.