Ralph Ziman, ‘Casspir’, 2016, Sulger-Buel Lovell
Ralph Ziman, ‘Casspir’, 2016, Sulger-Buel Lovell
Ralph Ziman, ‘Casspir’, 2016, Sulger-Buel Lovell
Ralph Ziman, ‘Casspir’, 2016, Sulger-Buel Lovell

The Casspir Project is an unprecedented and multifaceted undertaking from South African contemporary artist Ralph Ziman. The project ultimately comprises installation, photography, oral history and documentary. The heart of the project is a restored and refitted Casspir vehicle, its surfaces fully covered in elaborate, brightly-colored panels of glass beadwork. The Casspir Project charts the locus of the South African military vehicle’s legacy of institutional oppression — a legacy with which we are still reckoning. The central element of the project is one of reclamation. The Casspir Project represents the first comprehensive consideration of apartheid-era South Africa seen through the lens of the Casspir instrument. Casspir is an anagram of the acronyms SAP (South African Police) and CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research). Designed in South Africa in the late 1970s and brought into service in the early 80s, the Casspir was used extensively by the Apartheid-era South African Police, as well as by the South African Defence Force. Bulletproof and mine resistant, the Casspir was a military vehicle, extensively used in urban, township areas in South Africa against civilian populations. By the mid-1980s, the Casspir was the ubiquitous heavy hand of apartheid oppression in South African townships – its mere presence a form of terror. The Casspir Project is a vibrant, visual product of Ziman’s need to confront his own past and the country he left behind, and his effort to reconcile a history of devastation and foster a dialogue of where we are going, and what kind of world we want to live in.

About Ralph Ziman

South African, b. 1963, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, based in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, CA, United States