The Ghosts of Ralph Ziman

South African filmmaker shifts his focus to art with a social agenda

Driving around Venice Beach, you’ve probably seen the bold and beautiful street murals of Ralph Ziman. In addition to painting and printmaking, he  is an accomplished filmmaker with more than 400 music videos (for a spectrum of artists such as Ozzie Osbourne, Shania Twain, and Michael Jackson) and 6 feature films under his belt. He’s also an activist.

The Ghosts

The stink of apartheid had another decade to linger over South Africa when Ralph Ziman left the country in 1983, at the age of 19, but its demise resulted in an entirely new arsenal of issues. The arms boycott was lifted and national debt and civil unrest escalated. ” Gun’s are cheap and they’re everywhere. Ak-47s alone have put more people in the ground that the atom bomb and AIDS combined” says Ziman. To call attention to this crisis, Ziman worked with craftsmen in Johannesburg to create beaded AK-47 replicas. The Ghosts exhibit, is a serie of  models and artisans that he photographed with his beaded AK-47.  Proceeds of the sales is going to help families that have been affected by this tragedy.

Allure, Ghost series by Ralph Ziman

The Bones series

Ralph Ziman is similarly appalled and inspired by the plight of endangered animals, routinely hunted for sport in his homeland. In his Bones series, he embellished resin casts of skull and photograph them in the wild.

Hippo Head in the Wild, Ralph Ziman

He is also in the process of beading a 10-ton Casspir indestructible military vehicle that he’ll use to re-create iconic scenes from the 70’s and 80’s.

Ghost series, Ralph Ziman

Whether his subject is guns, animals,or tanks, Ziman’s message is crystal clear: it’s better to make art than war.

Ralph Ziman work can be seen at C.A.V.E gallery in Venice, California



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