THE TAXI DANCE, commissioned by the college as part of its Year of South Africa, represents contemporary life in South Africa, the vivid colors and energy of its cities, its distinctive street signage, and the rhythm of urban life in a nation whose economic inequalities can be crippling.
The painting emphasizes cautious hope for a better future in South Africa. The taxi van is the primary mode of transportation for South African’s urban poor. In van Eeden’s words, “The taxi dance is unique to our culture, as the mini bus taxi plays such a big role in South African transportation. In many ways this painting is celebrating the mini bus taxi, which started as an informal business, but now provides a much better transport system than is provided by the government. The taxi bus is a metaphor for how true change can be achievable from the ground up in South Africa, and the government’s inability to provide efficient solutions to some of the problems the public is facing.” The taxi dance represents joy and determination, qualities van Eeden believes are necessary to achieving the kinds of change he’d like to see in his country.