Chauke Family

They have neither been prolific nor widely published. They have also not been promoted by any single art dealer. Their lack of production would suggest that the family is not dependent on sales for survival and that they were following a local trend.

Albert Chauke is the best known and the oldest member of the family. Totemic, pig-like figures such as The pig lady (plate 268) are the only subject repeatedly carved by him. The earliest in this series (of which four are known) is owned by the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries. The two pieces by him in the Campbell Smith Collection appear to be more like copies rather than a development of a theme. The sculptures are a totemic combination of animal and human elements – a nude human with the head of a pig.

Two other members of the family, Johannes and Thyesa, are represented in the Campbell Smith Collection by one figure each. They are small, simple, stylised, frontal and symmetrical. Movement is minimal, only evident in Thyesa Chauke’s Boxer (plate 267), who holds both arms in the air.

Rayda Becker

Born c. 1953, Limpopo Province. (Sons Johannes and Thyesa, dates of birth unknown). Exhibitions 1989: Ten Years of Collecting, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 1989: Images of Wood, Johannesburg Art Gallery. Collection University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.