Ioannes Rex, 1732

Part of - Looking Glass - Johannesburg 2012 and 1886-1896
  • Date: 2012
The naming of Johannesburg is clouded in a mist of clashing theories. Though this naming happened just over a century ago, and under the ZAR government who were scrupulous in documenting their official business, there still remains multiple theories as to the naming of Johannesburg.
Ioannes Rex, 1732 takes one of the more outlandish theories in the naming of Johannesburg and presents it through the recreation of a 16th century gold coin. This Portuguese gold coin engraved with the bust of King Ioannes V (Johannes / Joao), comes from a time when the gold fields of Brazil were brining in large amounts of tax for the Portuguese government. The capital from this gold allowed Portugal for the next three centuries to expand its colonial web across, Africa and Asia. It’s African routes in Mozambique and Angola are what invariably connects it with Johannesburg and its possible naming.
Paul Kruger, president of the ZAR (South African Republic) is said to have named Johannesburg after King Johannes V*, in order to show allegiance to Portugal, in a time when Portugal was attempting to create a pan-African colonial empire spanning from Angola in the central-west, to Mozambique in the south-east.
*Niel Hirschon, The Naming of Johannesburg as an Historical Commentary, 1974, Nugget Press, Johannesburg

Ioannes Rex, 1732. 3D Print and Base. 130x32x32cm

Edition of 3