Departheid Departheid Affordable Art 91621
Shelley Reeves - Departheid | Portrait Art Art Painting
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Shelley Reeves - "Departheid"


Pastel, US$ 1,973


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W: 760mm x H: 1010mm x D: 2mm
W: 30" x H: 40" x D:

Approx. Weight: 3kg

This work is framed (but can be supplied either framed or unframed)


US$ 1,973


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About "Departheid"

The attractive and familiar facial features of Charlize Theron were chosen as a representation of the many South Africans who have had to leave their Motherland in order to find career success. Her skin has been darkened and the roots of her hair coarsened to romantically emphasize the core of her birth place, rooted in Africa, and objectively, to show today’s sought after, desired or most ‘wanted’ South African.

Her somber expression reveals the deep-seated disappointment and sorrow felt, having been separated from the home which could not accommodate or support her unique talent, intellect and abilities.

Her glamorous dress combines authentic African prints with Hollywood grandeur, a merge we see especially in contemporary Black South Africans.

The black-and-white print of Nelson Mandela at the base of her dress is included as a token of respect, in memory of the gravity of his wisdom and warm-hearted leadership.

Her hand, which clutches her chest in solidarity, protection and strength, is awkwardly positioned to exaggerate the discomfort of being simultaneously loyal and disloyal.

The obscured portrait of a young, typically ‘South African’ Charlize, placed on a biscuit tin on the left of the format, shows at once the country’s pride and admiration for their famous ‘star’, and her remarkable yet exaggerated transformation since that time of youthful naivety and innocence.

The windmill and jug in bowl are simply typical South African imagery used to clearly set the stage for this symbolic narrative. An element of the theatrical had to be included as a backdrop to the subject’s dramatic persona.

Personally, the windmill symbolizes the ever-present control and movement of the Holy Spirit who orchestrates our coming and going.

The circle motif is repeated throughout the work, starting with Theron’s eyes and moving anti-clockwise to the windmill, curtain pattern and sunflowers, telephone dials, repeated circular dress pattern, and finally exiting through the top right circles on the right curtain and upper blind.
The circle symbolizes the repetition of elevation and suppression found in the governing of our country, and the residing seemingly inherent obsession we have with hierarchy and authority.

The old-fashioned telephone placed in the foreground is the symbol for distance, and of how antiquated communication remains despite all of technology’s advances, which can never capture the wholeness of simultaneous physical, emotional and spiritual connecting that takes place when we speak face-to-face.

Departheid is the new apartheid that separates loving families. It is a portrait of South Africans today, and since it’s a portrayal of my own life, it can also be termed a symbolic Self-Portrait.

Shelley Reeves

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View all 16 works by Shelley Reeves

About Shelley

Shelley Reeves

Shelley Reeves completed her Bachelor of Fine Art degree at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, in 1994, majoring in Painting, History of Art, and Psychology. Her 4th Year Final Exam Self-Portrait was purchased by the University at the end of that year.
She completed a Higher Diploma in Education-Secondary at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth in 1995. Teaching secondary school Visual Art for 13 years resulted in numerous teens being inspired to pursue careers in Fine Art, Architecture, Fashion/Jewellery/Graphic Design, Animation, Advertising and Teaching.

Her deep respect for Scripture and Spirituality forms the core of her artistic inspiration, together with social interactions with an array of people from various cultural backgrounds. Her psychological understanding of the heart of man continues to ignite in her a compassionate, humble and cognitive love for humanity.

Shelley chose to stay at home to take care of her two energetic toddlers when they arrived in Dec 2010 and Mar 2012.

She plans to move on to produce Fine Art that seemlessly and abstractly reflects her innate passion for Home Interiors, Construction and Design, combining these aesthetics with her maturing spirituality.

Price Range

US$ 95-2,576



1995 - Solo exhibition at Cleary Park Shopping Centre, PE.
1998 - Group exhibition at Cuyler Street Art Gallery, PE.
1999 - Group exhibition at Cuyler Street Art Gallery, PE.
2001 - Group exhibition at Cuyler Street Art Gallery, PE.
2007 - Group exhibition at Carl van Aswegen Library, CT.


BFine Art (Rhodes University), H.D.E (NMMU)

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