What attracted me Penny Siopis was that the majority of her works are very obscure and layered with metaphors. The images that she presents are not those of the generalized South African style. Her works are very different in the sense that they explored media in much the same way as she explored her identity in contemporary South Africa.
The themes explored in Siopis' work are vast. Each installation, video and painting has its own story to tell and each, though similar in theme, are very different. She uses different media to say different things. For example, in Dora and the Other Woman (1988) Siopis uses formal elements such as colour and the various imageries (the photographs and the white sheet) to depict a story of the violation of women. The same topic can be explored in Domestic Affairs (1994) where she uses broken shells and doll parts to express the violation of women and in Act II Scene II (1987), a painted scene of an installation, shows the use of women as objects.
Siopis made a very interesting comment regarding the paint she used in her series of paintings Pinky-Pinky (2002). The canvasses she used were covered in what can be called "flesh tones". This means that the colours were peaches and various shades pink. She comments that this paint she used was bought from a paint producing company and that one can buy pre-mixed "flesh tones", all she did was paint the various "flesh tones" onto the canvas.
She says that people perceive "flesh tones" to be the colour of white people. The political play regarding marketed "flesh coloured" paint is that it is culturally considered white and that paint that represents people of a different race has to be mixed.
This is not, however, the main theme...