This image was conceived during Chad Cordeiro’s undergraduate Fine Art degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2014. It forms part of an ongoing fictional narrative about Johannesburg as an independent state, which is embedded in the collaborative practice of Cordeiro, and Nathaniel Sheppard III. 4am Firewalker was conceptualized and produced after Cordeiro and Sheppard were pasting up silkscreen posters in Johannesburg city centre in August 2014, the two were robbed at gun-point at 4am, and the perpetrators seemed to have emerged from the shadows of William Kentridge’s Firewalker sculpture, at the foot of Queen Elizabeth Bridge.
Public artworks – particularly public sculptures – seem to take on different forms, and functions in the city, and the artist believes that public works of art can only be considered “public”, if they are used by those who engage with the city on a daily basis (even if this means that the works are used as camouflage for thieves). This image was printed with Gamblin – Portland Black etching ink, unmodified.