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.

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  • title:
    Non Payment of Taxes, Congo, Christian Era
  • accession number:
    GMA 4816
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    1937
  • measurements:
    76.30 x 51.10 cm (framed: 87.50 x 62.50 x 4.20 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased 2006
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Sam Haile

Sam Haile