2011. Digital video, color, 1:24 min. Courtesy of Andrew Putter.
Mining early colonial history, Andrew Putter’s Secretly I Will Love You More revisits the relationship between Maria de la Quellerie, wife of Jan van Riebeeck, first Dutch commander of the Cape of Good Hope, and Krotoa, daughter of one of the ‘Hottentot’ chiefs at the Cape, who was taken into the Van Riebeeck home as a mediator between the Dutch, whose language she spoke, and the Khoi. In the guise of a 17th century painted portrait, a bonneted de la Quellerie sings a gentle lullaby to an out-of-frame, sleeping Krotoa – expressing her deep love and admiration for the girl child, in the soft click-sounds of the last existing Khoi language still found in Nama (the quoiuoin language Krotoa would have spoken is today extinct due to colonization). In the artist’s own words, the piece aims to open a space to imagine the ‘secret utopian potential of the historical encounter between the Hottentots and the Dutch at the Cape in the 1600s.
Andrew Putter was born in 1965 in Cape Town, where he lives and works. His work, which often combines photography and video with cross-disciplinary collaboration, research and reenactment, is deeply engaged with explorations of and challenges to dominant histories through a centering of counterhistorical marginalia. Putter was a founding member of Public Eye, South Africa’s first public art collective (1999), and co-instigator of the Mother City Queer Project since 1994.
Solo and collaborative projects include “20 Smells” for The Bowling Club, Cape Town (2007), Suburbanism in public spaces in Rondebosch, Cape Town (2004), and Post at the Bijou Cinema, Cape Town (2002). Recent group exhibitions include Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive at the Walther Collection in New York and Neu-Ulm, Germany (2012-13); Flora and Fauna: 400 Years of Artists Inspired by Nature at the National Gallery of Canada (2012); Life Less Ordinary: Performance and Display in South African Art at the Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2009); and the 10th Havana Biennale (2009). In 2007, Putter won the Spier Contemporary award for his work Secretly I Will Love You More. In 2010 he was awarded a fellowship at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town; he is currently completing a Masters in Fine Art at UCT. He teaches art at Rondebosch Boys High School. Putter is represented by Stevenson Gallery.