The Butcher Boys

The Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander

The Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander was produced in 17th Century and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Contemporary art movement. The work can be viewed now at South African National Gallery, Cape Town


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): betrayal, suffering, vanity


The Butcher Boys is a sculpture produced in 1986 by South African artist Jane Alexander.

The three figures depict the human monsters with black eyes, powdery skin due to plaster and were sitting on a bench with no mouth directly conveying to the State of Emergency implications. These three beasts were free from their outside senses.

Jane Alexander covered their ears and mouth with thick rough skin which appears that they were missing their organs of sensing. Jane Alexander’s sculpture The Butcher Boys-inspired many works and was published with a cover photo on Brett Bailey’s Plays of Miracle similarly poses by three men.

South African band Die Antwoord during Feb 2012, released their album Ten$Ion online teaser, which referenced The Butcher Boys sculpture without taking Jane Alexander permission, which in fact turned out to a huge controversy

he sculpture exhibits three life-size humanoid beasts with powdery skin, black eyes, broken horns, and no mouths sitting on a bench. The figures are considered to have no senses, as you can see ears, heads and mouths are missing, or rather covered with thick roughened skin

The Butcher Boys were painted on oil having plaster bodies seated on bench  with animal horn and bone details. The work formed part of her MAFA submission (University of the Witwatersrand) and was first exhibited at the Market Theatre Gallery in Johannesburg in 1986

The work can be viewed at South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa


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