Monday, February 3, 2014

Die Missies met die Spanspek

The Adderley Street flower sellers coined this sobriquet soon after the installation of Queen Vic’s statue in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament more than a hundred years ago, so legend has it. Some might feel that it’s an irreverent swipe at royalty, but perhaps at the time it was a genuine, yet quirky term of endearment. This painting acknowledges the inimitable and unique informality that many folk of the Cape display, always finding a way of expressing themselves with mischievous mimicry, as well as imbuing the local parlance with a rich diversity of well used vocabulary, such as “laaitie”, “voetsak” and many that fall into the unprintable category.

"Spanspek" also has a South African story behind it...
Way back in 1847 when Sir Harry Smith was governor of the Cape he and his wife used to eat breakfast together. Harry used to eat bacon and eggs while his Spanish wife Juana used to eat cantaloupes (melons). The kitchen staff gave Juana's breakfast a name and called the melons her Spanish bacon. Translated into Dutch or Afrikaans the name would be "spaans spek" (Spanish bacon). This name has stuck and cantaloupes are known as "spanspek" all over South Africa.

Acrylic on canvas 100cm x 100cm

Placed in the top 100 in the 2013 Sanlam National Portrait Competition