The iconic Hector Pieterson photo and the power of adaptations

Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

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Field Value
 
Title The iconic Hector Pieterson photo and the power of adaptations
 
Creator Mengel, Ewald
 
Subject Hector Pieterson
repetition compulsion
symbolization compulsions
adaptation
trauma
art
 
Description In South Africa, the iconic Hector Pieterson photo is the starting point for many artists to deal with their own personal trauma and the communal trauma of their nation. The iconicity of this photo has sparked many different adaptations in various fields of art. Considering that we are talking about a traumatized country, Freud’s concept of “repetition compulsion” seems to be one explanation for this phenomenon. However, art is only seldom a mere product of traumatization. Quayson’s concept of “symbolization compulsions” comes closer to explaining the phenomenon of repetition in the arts, because it leaves the artists more freedom of expression and does not suggest that art is the result of illness, while still implying ‘compulsion’ and ‘obsession’ in the act of creation. I want to suggest that ‘repetition’ in the arts in the South African context is not so much a sign of confinement and restriction, but that the many adaptations of the unique historical incident should rather be understood as attempts of ‘working through’ collective trauma, making sense of history, and contributing to the country’s healing.
 
Publisher Tydskrif vir Letterkunde Association
 
Date 2019-10-21
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
Essay
 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier https://journals.assaf.org.za/index.php/tvl/article/view/6134
10.17159/2309-9070/tvl.v.56i2.6134
 
Source Tydskrif vir Letterkunde; Vol 56 No 2 (2019); 83-88
2309-9070
0041-476X
 
Language eng
 
Relation https://journals.assaf.org.za/index.php/tvl/article/view/6134/9228
 
Rights Copyright (c) 2019 Tydskrif vir Letterkunde
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0
 

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