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The Art of JAMA
December 1, 2015

Boy and the CandleGerard Sekoto

JAMA. 2015;314(21):2218-2219. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12119

The candle is a universal symbol of peace and hope and a humble source of light. In this 1943 painting by the South African artist Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993), a candle flame warms the face of a boy as darkness falls outside. In the year 1943, in the segregated community of Cape Town’s District Six, candlelight was probably the only indoor source of illumination. Other Cape Town images by Sekoto, such as Family With Candle and The Evening Prayer, look in on the preparation of an evening meal or a quiet meditation; Boy and the Candle focuses on a child who has the responsibility of illuminating his home.

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