Non Payment of Taxes, Congo, Christian Era
© The Artist's Estate

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Non Payment of Taxes, Congo, Christian Era 1937
As the title implies, this work refers to the Congo and the barbaric exploitation by King Leopold of Belgium against the country’s indigenous people in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Haile was extremely politically engaged and became increasingly exasperated with politics throughout Europe in the late 1930s. Painted in dark browns and black, it may at first seem to show a tree with slash marks in it. (The Congo – or Congo Free State as it then was - was a Belgian colony, and one of its particular riches was rubber, made by cutting through the bark of the rubber tree; much of this work was done with forced labour.) However, closer inspection shows that this form is actually a native who has been strung up, viciously whipped, and who seems to have already lost a leg.

Details

  • Acc. No. GMA 4816
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 76.30 x 51.10 cm (framed: 87.50 x 62.50 x 4.20 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 2006