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Hepworth said that when she was carving this sculpture she was preoccupied with ‘thoughts about Africa and the United Nations’, explaining that her concern for human suffering and dignity had on occasion lent a certain poignancy to her works. It was linked more specifically to her sense of sorrow after the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, when South African police opened fire on demonstrators, killing 69 people. The sculpture appears to represent a human head, heroic in stature and proportion, and emblematic of the universality of suffering.

November 2015