Strydom’s work is a black and white photograph that shows a semi-naked couple and their baby in front of a bedraggled wind dryer in a neglected suburban backyard. The man is covering the woman’s exposed breast. Alongside them is a dog.
The artist describes the work as “depict(ing) and expos(ing), both literally and figuratively, the extreme misery, pathos and dehumanisation of poverty”.
Strydom said he could understand Sasol’s point of view and the dangers to the company’s brand. “However, if companies want to sponsor such competitions they need to accept all art and not just beautiful, indoor art,” he said.
Well-known artist and curator Clive van den Bergh was less forgiving.
“This is an extraordinary decision. If Sasol wants to sponsor an art competition they must except that a function of art is to challenge and comment on society. If they want to support something tame, they should stick to rugby.”