Conrad Botes, The Fiscal Agent, 2010_TNCM Collection

- Conrad Botes was born in Ladismith, South Africa. An icon of the Post-Pop movement in South Africa. This sculpture Fiscal Agent depicts a black female mermaid perched on a human skull holding what reads somewhere between a playing card and currency, gambling with the fortunes of others. Botes took inspiration from Mami Wata (Mammy Water), a water spirit, a mermaid- like figure of spiritual importance in Africa, often depicted with expensive baubles or holding a mirror. As with many other old mermaid deities such as Assyrian Astarte, Babylonian Ishtar and Greek Aphrodite, she is regarded as an immortal spirit that personifies polar opposites, beauty and danger, natural force and healing, wealth and destruction, health and disease.