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Culture

A Technicolor Armored Vehicle Arrives In A San Francisco Parking Lot

By Ashlyn Davis

casspir project colorful armoured truck fort mason

This Apartheid-era police vehicle, covered in 70 million beads is at Fort Mason for three days!

This crazy truck has shown up in a parking lot in SF, but it’s no accident and no, it’s not an art car from Burning Man or the mobile home of a new vegan cult either (we can already hear “damn hippies” echoing through the streets). This 12-ton police vehicle is a labor of love by South African artist, Ralph Ziman. The truck will be rolling across the Golden Gate Bridge before heading to the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture as part of the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Art Show from Feb 21 to 23.

 

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The ghost of apartheid

The Casspir Project stemmed from Ziman’s desire to transform this symbol of terror into a beautiful expression of the people and their traditional craft. This Casspir is a decommissioned police vehicle that was initially used during Apartheid to intimidate and oppress black people. The sight of one would evoke the smell of tear gas and burning tires for Ziman and others that lived through the period, according to his website.

The mobile artwork “Spoek 1”, meaning ghost in Afrikaans, has traveled from Cape Town to California and will be traveling–it’s still fully functioning–around Los Angeles as a mobile exhibition.

Take a closer look

 

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At a first glance, it may look like the truck is decorated with neon paint, upon closer inspection, you’ll find the work of 100 Zulu, Shona and Ndebele craftsman using 70 million beads and traditional beadwork patterning to create this magnificent marvel, which is why it’s featured in the show.

 Step inside the “Spoek 1”

 

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For scale

 

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Also for scale

 

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You get the point, it’s gigantic

 

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The artist behind it all

 

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Ralph Ziman is a South African artist and filmmaker currently living and working in Los Angeles, California. He is known for salvaging items from Pan-African history and repurposing them to create a new dialogue.

[Feature Image: @whatsinanamehuh]