Caterpillar Suit III

Caterpillar Suit III, by Walter Oltmann 2008

Caterpillar Suit III, by Walter Oltmann 2008

“Caterpillar Suit III”, by Walter Oltmann of South African, Natal Province was created with anodized aluminum and razor wire. It is on display at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). The following is the SAM synopsis of this sculpture.

A caterpillar and a conquistador mixed their exoskeletons together. Both are voracious: caterpillars eat copious amounts of leaves, just as conquistadors often ravage people in their path. But both are vulnerable. Scientists issue warnings that the insect population is showing signs of decline, and the role of the conquistador alone in strange new worlds was always a tenuous one.

Subtle hints about the origin of the artist are perceptible: One of the few places that have taken inexpensive metal wire and made it into art is Natal Province, where Walter Oltmann was raised and learned firsthand how Zulu women weave wire baskets. The spikes of razor wire are a reminder of the strife-conflicted cityscapes in South Africa.

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