In an exhibit at the National Art Gallery of Namibia, I referenced John Liebenberg’s image Grave Site at Uupindi in an installation titled Under an Omwandi Tree: The Unspoken Inheritance of the Bush War. The work acts as a counter-memorial; it grapples with the idea that ‘wars never end’, and that the consequences of violent histories keep on returning into the present in surprising and disturbing ways.
In the installation, sand was brought to the gallery from the north of Namibia, the region where mass graves dating from the War of Independence can be found. Clay pots, symbolic of funerary urns and burial rituals were placed in and around the mound of sand. Two identical, framed photographs of Liebenberg’s image Grave Site at Uupindi, from the last page of Patricia Hayes and Liebenberg's iconic book Bush of Ghosts, were displayed above the mound. The installation commemorated unknown victims portrayed in Liebenberg’s image of the covered pit, but also aimed to draw attention to the larger unanswered questions and conflicting accounts around incidents in this painful war and represented an attempt to counteract the waning of a reflective historical consciousness.