Intaglio is a family of printmaking techniques (including etching, drypoint, and engraving) in which the image is incised into the surface of a metal plate. The process generally produces detailed linework, both scratchy and fluid, and it has been used by artists such as Francisco de Goya and Otto Dix over the centuries to depict the cruelty of war.
In South Africa, throughout the mid- and late 1980s, the apartheid government declared a continuous state of emergency, during which the police had sweeping authority to detain civilians, ban organizations, and impose strict curfews. During these violent years, some artists, such as William Kentridge and Norman Catherine, used intaglio to capture this brutality through metaphor and satire. More recently, Diane Victor has used intaglio for an ongoing narrative series of prints inspired by Goya’s historic cycle of etchings Disasters of War (1810–20).