Judy died on 29th December, 2016 at the age of 78.
Judy was a good friend of our studio and although I did not know her very well, her art is very much part of my life and admired and respected every day. I have always seen her work hanging in Mags' house and have long been fascinated and intrigued by her often unsettling imagery. Her fascination with hyena and menacing monkeys permeate through her art and are completely captivating.
When I met Judy the contrast of this warm and friendly, self-deprecating person to her often dark and disturbing art could not have been greater. Mags collaborated frequently with her in converting her work to tapestries and she and Judy were life-long friends. I can remember Judy speak of Mags's fearsome reputation on the school hockey team which Judy sometimes had to face. That goes back a few years.
Judy's most well known work hangs in the South African Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. It is called The Man Who Sang and the Woman who Kept Silent or The Blue Dress. It refers to the horrifying experiences of two detainees during apartheid. Judy heard the stories of the two people on the radio at the time of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. Harold Sefola asked permission to sing 'N'kosi Sikelela iAfrika while he was being electrocuted to death. The other person, a woman named Phila Ndwandwe was arrested and tortured and kept naked for ten days. She was killed in the kneeling position. Before her assassination she managed to fashion a pair of blue panties out of a scrap of blue plastic.
Muse Amused hangs in Mags's bathroom. It has a snarly, slobbering grimace with its lips curled back and flies buzzing around its head. It also has incongruously a bunch of blonde plaits reminding me somehow of Heidi. It never fails to give me a fright as I turn on the light switch next to it. It jolts you and forces you to feel something about it. I love it.