Ross Kolby

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Venus of Angola

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Oil on canvas, 195 x 90 cm. 2011.


Angola has one of the highest rates of landmine injuries per capita in the world. Estimates for the number of landmines in Angola range from 6 to 20 million. The higher figure represents a number of mines that is nearly twice the population. According to the United Nations and the United States Department of State, Angola is the third most heavily mined country in the world.


The mining of Angola began in the 1960’s during the rebellion against Portuguese sovereignty. On November 11, 1975 Angola won independence, but found itself subject to the legacy of a fourteen year war: the countryside was littered with landmines and unexploded ordnance.


A survey conducted by the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) found that in certain provinces of Angola up to 98% of landmine victims are civilian. The same survey found that these people were engaged in "survival" activities, such as gathering food or firewood, when they fell victim to a landmine; many were children who had run into a field to play.


In his series of paintings dealing with issues of war, Kolby in this work depicts a beautiful woman from the war torn African country and display her with her mine injury; a lost leg. Self confident and with integrity, the woman stands in the posture of the classical Venus, representing a disturbing dissonance between the graceful posture and the result of the merciless acts of war.

Ross Kolby

«Painting, writing or acting are like colours on my palette. I mix them and make use of the crafts to create living, breathing, believable characters - people that I feel inside me»

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