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Stanley Pinker, light-hearted politics

Stanley Pinker was renowned as one of South Africa’s most important “modernist” painters. He is remembered for his distinctive style of  ‘afro-surrealism’. A trademark for which he is fondly remembered in the company of Alexis Preller and Cecil Skotnes.

Pinker’s work was a breath of fresh air during the 70’s when art seemed to be stiff and clichéd as artists attempted to make sense of European modernist teachings within an African context. His paintings were often light and lyrical, drenched in colour.

Stanley Pinker

Typical to the South African scene of the 70’s and 80’s, the political climate of the time had a major impact on the artists of the time. Pinker offered the following thought about that time in his career: “…in the dark days of our country, there were times when one had to live with the reality of what one read in the newspapers and saw on TV, but when I went into my studio I did not want to paint those things.” His paintings were also often gently satirical in response to what they were experiencing in every day South Africa. His work was branded by colour and humorous detail which he used as a metaphor to navigate South African politics.

Stanley Pinker was a leading voice on the South African art scene, both as an artist and mentor. His legacy firmly entrenched in the heart of his followers.