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On the brink
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Knowing the ropes
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King of the castle
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In the drink
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In coming tide
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Calling all contestants
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The Contestant
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The moons a balloon.

The Tin Boats portfolio.

Went to see the captain
Strangest I could find
Laid my proposition down
laid it on the line.
I won't slave for beggar's pay
likewise gold and jewels
but I would slave to learn the way
to sink your ship of fools
Words by Robert Hunter

This portfolio of lithographs is about imagining the challenge of launching into a transition from an old to a new world. The call is for contenders to launch their small vessels of humanity into the sea of life. The captains stand ready, the mists of time cascade from their pinnacled hats, the wail of the bullhorns call for challengers whilst others wade and wallow in the sea. New horizons can be seen in the distance yet are still to journey.

The origin of the tin boat or tin canoe, a historical icon of the Western Cape seaboard, is from my childhood growing up in Sea Point where I was given one of these canoes made of corrugated iron, wood, and tar. Youngsters of the time used them as a form of recreation to surf and sail before the introduction of the modern fiberglass surfboards. They fueled my imagination in the stories told to me by the people who used them; how humans are drawn to the challenge of the sea and the need to invent vessels to travel upon it. As the urban legend goes, there were even attempts to reach Robben Island. The craft was sleek yet difficult to handle in the water, which apparently, provided for a lot of daring challenges.

The relationship between the ideas explored in the lithographs and my immigrant parentage is significant to the closure of a particular historical period in my life. The symbol of launching a tin boat is like the beginning of a new journey in life and the notion that not all boats launched are filled with fools but rather with courageous adventurers.

Cape Town 2005

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The Tin Boats


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