About this artwork

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.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    Non Payment of Taxes, Congo, Christian Era
  • date created:
    1937
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    76.30 x 51.10 cm (framed: 87.50 x 62.50 x 4.20 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 2006
  • accession number:
    GMA 4816
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Tell us what you think.

Sam Haile

Sam Haile